Patriots' Tom Brady on concussions: 'I don't worry' but 'I'm not oblivious'

On Sunday, Tom Brady and the Patriots will try to rebound from an embarrassing season-opening loss to the Chiefs with a win over the Saints in New Orleans. A few hours before the Patriots take the field, Brady's sit-down with "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell will air on "CBS Sunday Morning."

On Thursday, CBS News provided a brief glimpse into that interview, which includes Brady talking about his longevity, his diet, concussions, and his new book, "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance," which is published by Simon & Schuster (a division of CBS).

Let's start with the concussions, an issue that has been connected to Brady ever since his wife, Gisele Bundchen, told Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning" in May that Brady "had a concussion last year." Brady was never listed on last year's injury report with a concussion.

In his interview with O'Donnell, Brady didn't say if he did suffer a concussion last year, but did say that he doesn't worry about them.

"I don't worry about 'em, no," Brady said, via CBS News. "I mean, I'm not oblivious to 'em. I mean, I understand the risks that, you know, come with ... the physical nature of our game." 

Concussions and head injuries, of course, have emerged as arguably the most important issue facing football. In 2015, a study discovered that 87 out of 91 deceased players had CTE. In July, another study found that 110 of 111 of former NFL players had CTE. Meanwhile, multiple younger players have retired due to health concerns.

"I don't know what the future is gonna look like, you know, and I'm not gonna pretend to predict it," Brady said. "And I'm gonna do everything I can to take care of my body in advance of the, you know, of the hits that I'm gonna take on Sunday."

Based on his responses above, don't expect Brady to suddenly retire due to concerns over his health. During the interview, O'Donnell asked Brady if he'd consider retiring after this season. Brady quickly shot down that idea, committing himself for at least one more season. In the past, Brady has said he wants to play another six or seven years, according to Patriots owner Robert Kraft. So don't expect him to retire after the 2018 season either. 

Besides the obvious safety concerns, why would Brady stop playing? He played at an MVP level last year and capped off the year with his fifth Super Bowl. And he says he's even peaking athletically.

"I would say I'm faster now and quicker now than when I first stared playing football," he told O'Donnell.

When he was asked if that meant he thought he was faster at age 40 than he was at age 18, Brady confirmed that's what he meant.

"Yeah," he said. "I am."

One reason he's peaking athletically? Brady maintains a strict diet that doesn't include caffeine, dairy, or gluten. During the interview, O'Donnell listed a few foods and asked Brady to reveal if he ever consumes them. Here's how that conversation went:

Q: "Coffee?"

A: "I've never tried it."

Q: "Salt?"

A: "A little bit."

Q: "Sugar?"

A: "On occasion. A little bit."

Q: "Dairy?"

A: "Almost never. Unless it's really good ice cream."

Finally, we've discovered Tom Brady's Kryptonite: really good ice cream. The Saints should probably make sure a million ice cream vendors are stationed outside the Patriots' hotel on Saturday.

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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