FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Happy 20th birthday to the picture that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has joked he can’t escape.
“Did they stop taking these photos after mine?” Brady once cracked on Instagram, adding two laughing emojis for effect.
In 2000, when Brady attended the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis as a late-round prospect out of Michigan, quarterbacks worked out on Saturday. What happened that day?
Vince Masi of ESPN Stats & Information takes us back 20 years:
Wearing loose workout shorts and a baggy shirt with the No. 1 (his last name made him first in alphabetical order among QBs), Brady ran a 40-yard dash in 5.28 seconds, which was the second slowest at the position. Only Chris Redman (Louisville) was slower that year, at 5.37.
Of all the qualifying starting quarterbacks from the 2019 season, Brady and Philip Rivers are the only ones who ran their combine 40-yard dashes in over 5 seconds (Rivers was clocked at 5.08).
Brady had a 24.5-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 8 feet, ¼ inch.
To put that performance in perspective, since 2006 at the combine, only 65 players have had a combination of a slower 40 time and shorter vertical and broad jumps than Brady. Of those players, 56 were offensive linemen who averaged 321 pounds, and nine were defensive linemen who averaged 321 pounds. Only one player had that distinction at the 2019 combine — guard Nate Herbig (6-foot-3½, 335 pounds).
But it wasn’t all bad for Brady.
He posted a 7.20-second time in the 3-cone drill and completed the shuttle run in 4.38 seconds. Those were faster times than former NFL receiver Kelvin Benjamin in 2014 (7.33 in 3-cone; 4.39 in shuttle), Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook in 2017 (7.27 in 3-cone; 4.53 in shuttle) and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf in 2019 (7.38 in 3-cone; 4.50 in shuttle).
Brady’s on-field improvement since the combine has been meteoric.
Since the Patriots selected him in the sixth round, No. 199 overall, he has played 285 regular-season games — 76 more games than the next-highest such quarterback in the NFL draft (Matt Hasselbeck, 209 games, after he was drafted in the sixth round in 1998).