On Friday night the Patriots welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back to the scene of the crime -- it was a joint practice between the two squads when Adrian Clayborn pushed Nate Solder back into Tom Brady, temporarily sending all of New England into mild cardiac arrest.
Brady ended up being fine, though, and he'll return to the field on Friday when the two teams square off, NFL Network's Albert Breer reports.
Patriots are likely to play all three quarterbacks tonite -- Brady, Mallett and Tebow -- against Tampa, per source. Brady cleared medically.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 16, 2013
Brady, Breer also reports, has "no physical issues ... at this point."
That quote is to answer your inevitable question of why the Patriots are playing him. It's not an unreasonable inquiry -- Brady suffered nothing more than a sprain of his knee on a play that, initially through the eyes of amateur video, looked like it could be a devastating injury. (It didn't help matters that Brady was holding the same knee that he injured in 2008's season opener against the Chiefs.)
One could argue that it's a little bold and dangerous to rush Brady back for Friday's preseason game. That's a valid point. Making sure he's completely healthy is paramount to the Patriots success.
But New England is also going to struggle if Brady can't get on the same page as his wide receivers. Practice will help, but he needs some game action with guys like Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson.
Those three wideouts have a combined zero career NFL regular-season catches. Danny Amendola's in his first year with Brady. Shane Vereen is a running back. These guys need reps, they need reps with Brady and getting them in the preseason is really the only way to pull it off.
Playing Brady, then, is a necessary risk, especially if he's not dealing with any real injury to the leg.