How Tom Brady’s childhood friends in San Mateo remember the NFL legend

How Brady’s childhood friends in San Mateo remember NFL legend originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Before Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was throwing touchdown passes and winning Super Bowls in the NFL, he was just a kid from San Mateo playing ball in the street.

On Sunday, he returns home to play against the team he rooted for back then for just the second time in his 23-season career.

The 45-year-old grew up a 49ers fan and is remembered by his childhood friends as a talented, competitive youngster — something that should come as no surprise to fans of the living football legend.

“Tommy’s younger than I am, but whenever we were out playing, we needed numbers,” Brady’s old neighbor Bobby Aguirre told FOX Sports’ Greg Auman. “Everything revolved around playing sports.”

Whether it was football, baseball or just riding bikes around the block, the group of neighborhood kids on Portola Drive could usually be found outside. And even though it was all fun and games to most, no one took their contests more seriously than Brady.

“Even then, he was the most competitive kid out there,” another childhood friend, Scott Cannel, told Auman. “He hated to lose. He hated to strike out. He hated to misthrow somebody. It was kind of funny to see how competitive he was then, to how competitive he is now.”

Several of Brady’s old friends recalled to Auman how good Brady was at baseball, powering tennis balls over houses with a gifted swing. He eventually was drafted by the Montreal Expos, but chose football instead and signed with Michigan out of high school.

Brady of course went on to play for the New England Patriots, when the team selected him No. 199 overall in the 2000 NFL Draft — something that brought his years-long love of the 49ers to an end.

But San Francisco spurning him in the draft did not have an impact on the competitive drive he has possessed since childhood, which helped him go on to win seven Super Bowls and break countless NFL records.

“Being younger than me, the bigger guys, we were the quarterback and the receivers and Tommy’s [saying], ‘Throw to me! Throw to me!’ and the most interesting thing to me was his persistence at that age,” Aguirre told Auman. “He’s got to be in the game, and he’s going to give it all. As he got older, God forbid you beat him in a pool game, or Rochambeau [rock-paper-scissors], he’s competitive. That’s the edge it takes to be good at that level.”

Growing up in the shadow of a 49ers dynasty with Joe Montana at the helm, it might have come as a shock to many in San Mateo when Brady turned into a dynastic signal-caller himself.

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But his friends back home knew he had it inside him all along. And on Sunday, plenty of them will be in the stands, along with Brady’s family.

“It’s all the people who have supported him for 23 years,” his sister, Maureen Brady, told Auman. “It’s coming to an end. He’ll probably never play in San Francisco again.”

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