Ex-Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson rips Tom Brady for 'irresponsible' comments about the brain

In December, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went on Westwood One Sports with Jim Gray and said his brain is "wired for contact." A month later, Brady's former teammate criticized him for making that comment, which he described as "irresponsible."

On Thursday, Ted Johnson, who played linebacker for the Patriots from 1995-2004, appeared on 98.5 in Boston to talk all things Patriots. Towards the end of his conversation with "Felger & Mazz," Johnson was given a chance to respond to Brady. Johnson ripped Brady.

"I'll be honest, and I love Tom. It made me throw up in my mouth a little bit," Johnson said. "I have to say it, it was very irresponsible for Tom to talk like that. OK, 'My brain's wired for contact.' So, what, Kevin Turner's wasn't? Junior Seau's wasn't? Justin Strzelczyk's brain wasn't? Andre Waters' brain wasn't wired for contact? But yours is? So, it was very insensitive and I thought irresponsible to talk like that."

If you missed Brady's comments on the subject, here's what he said:

"First of all, I have been doing it a long time, so your body gets used to the hits. The brain understands the position you are putting your body into, and my brain is wired for contact. I would say in some ways it's become callus to some of the hits. Based on all the pliability treatments I do, my muscles just absorb the forces and disperse the forces as well as they ever have. I take hits better now at 41 than I did when I was 25. I really train that way. I've made it a real priority in my life. I think about it on a daily basis. It's so important for me because I realize when I look around the locker room, I look around at other guys in the league, and I realize they are playing at such a disadvantage because of what I am able to do and how I am able to treat my body. It actually gives me a lot of confidence. I look at certain hits in a game that I see on film and people go, 'God, did that hurt a lot?' And I will say, 'No, I didn't even really feel it.' 

"It is just from all the work I'm putting in, understanding the things I need to do to prepare my body. I do it year round. It really works for anything. It works for me for football. Skiing I feel the same way. I could play basketball, any activity that I want to do, I feel like my body is so prepared to do it."

This isn't the first time Johnson has made headlines for something he said about a former teammate. It's also not the first time he has spoken out about brain trauma. In 2013, Johnson apologized for calling Vince Wilfork's wife, Bianca, ugly. Back in 2007, Johnson opened up to The New York Times about his personal struggles, saying "There's something wrong with my brain."

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In 2015, a study found that 87 out of 91 deceased NFL players had CTE, a degenerative brain disease. In 2017, a study found that 110 out of 111 former NFL players had CTE. Last January, a study found that repeated hits to the head, even ones that don't result in concussions, can lead to CTE.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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