FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) In some ways, the Patriots' last preseason game against the New York Giants on Thursday will serve as a sort of going away party for Tom Brady.
Or at least a ''see you later.''
Brady's four-game suspension for his role in ''Deflategate'' begins Saturday as New England shifts to the regular season. Once it starts, Brady won't be eligible to rejoin the active roster until Oct. 3. His absence will mark the first regular-season games he's missed since 2008, when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the season opener.
The territory is so unfamiliar for the 39-year-old quarterback that he's not willing to share specifics about how he plans to spend his time away from the only team he's played for during his 16-year career.
''In case someone else is in this situation in the future, I don't want to give away all my tips,'' Brady said.
During his suspension, Brady is not allowed to have contact with the Patriots or utilize team facilities.
But NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that Brady will be allowed to work with his close friend, personal trainer and health guru Alex Guerrero.
''Well that was nice of them,'' Brady cracked, when asked about being allowed access to a guy he also calls a close friend.
Brady and Guerrero are partners in the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which is located on the adjoining complex to Gillette Stadium. According to the Boston Globe , the Patriots have paid the firm to provide nutritional advice to their players.
McCarthy said team medical staff will be allowed to check on Brady's progress with his personal trainer, ''but cannot discuss or pass on football information.''
That rule is standard for other players whose discipline includes staying away from the team facility.
Brady said he and Guerrero would work together similarly to the way they have the past 12 years.
''We'll use all these days in the best way that's possible to stay prepared and stay sharp. I have ideas of what I need to do based on all the practices that we've had and the limited playing time that I've had,'' Brady said. ''My goal is to come back and be the best that I can be, just like every other year, every other offseason.''
It's customary for starters to sit out the final preseason game, with players fighting for roster spots typically playing most.
But Brady might benefit from the extra snaps. He missed New England's first preseason game to attend memorial services for a family member. He then sat out the second after accidentally cutting his right thumb with a pair of scissors.
''I wish I could play every game,'' he said. ''I like to play in practice, I love playing in preseason games, regular-season games, postseason games. I love thinking about football. It's just the way it is. So, that part I think will be very challenging watching those games in September. But I'll find ways to preoccupy my mind.''
Brady's absence isn't surprising this time, like in 2008. That's why Belichick said it's nothing worth dwelling on.
''It's out of our control,'' he said. ''We're not worried it. We're moving forward. Control what we can control. Do what we can do. ''
The most interesting dynamic may be how the Patriots adjust without Brady's vocal presence on offense.
That task would seemingly fall to Jimmy Garoppolo, who will start in Brady's place.
The last time Brady could recall being in a similar situation to Garoppolo was coming out of college in 2000. Brady tried to spend the time learning from starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe and other veterans. But he said it's difficult to gauge how Garoppolo has dealt with it because they are ''totally on different ends of the spectrum.''
''I love being with Jimmy,'' Brady said. ''I've enjoyed every day that we've spent with him. I wish him the very best, obviously, for our team, for him personally. When you see people that it means a lot to, you always want them to succeed as well. It'll be tough to watch, but I'll be excited to watch and excited to learn, and then hopefully, when I come back in October I'll be a better player than I am today.''
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