In the almost nine months since Tom Brady was last seen on a football field, he has added a wife, a few pounds and a knee brace that won't let him forget the injury that cost him all of last season.
"The reality is, in this sport, you really never know. Any day could be your last day in football," the New England Patriots quarterback told reporters after practice on Thursday. "I don't think about the end too often. Hopefully, this is still, relatively, in the early part of my career."
In his first news conference since torn knee ligaments finished his 2008 season in the opening game, Brady said he has moved on from the injury. But his comments showed that he has used some of his time off to think about the role football plays in his life.
Having married supermodel Gisele Bundchen and spent some extra time with his 21-month-old son, Jack, Brady said he has grown more appreciative of the things that are important to him.
One of them is football.
"I think when you sit on the sidelines for an entire year you realize how much you love it. ... You experience things in a much different way and a way that I never experienced as an athlete," he said. "I love being out here. I love participating and being around these guys."
A two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and the NFL MVP in 2007, Brady crumpled to the ground this past September when he was tackled in the pocket by Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard. He had surgery in October and then another to clear up an infection, and he wore a knee brace under his long sweat pants on Thursday.
According to Brady and the team, nothing should keep him from being available for the Sept. 14 regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Broncos cut Arrington: The Denver Broncos have released tailback J.J. Arrington after he failed a physical because of a balky right knee. The team confirmed the move Thursday.
Arrington, who played at Northern Nash High in Rocky Mount, N.C., was one of three veteran tailbacks the Broncos brought in during the offseason, along with Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan. The team had placed seven running backs on injured reserve last season.
The Broncos also selected Knowshon Moreno with the 12th pick in the draft to bolster the backfield.
Arrington signed a four-year deal worth about $10 million in early March.
Jets' Rhodes mum on investigation: Relieved that he is not a suspect, New York Jets safety Kerry Rhodes says he cannot discuss the investigation of a possible rape at his New Jersey home.
Rhodes was repeatedly questioned about the matter Thursday when facing the media for the first time since the case came to light.
According to police, a Canadian tourist said she met Rhodes and another man at a Manhattan nightclub last Friday night or early Saturday before being taken to a home in Morristown, N.J., where Rhodes owns a town house. The Morris County prosecutor said this week Rhodes is "not the target of any criminal investigation."
"I appreciated that," Rhodes said. "When the prosecutor's office made that comment about the matter, I was very happy about that."
Lions' Barr dead at 73: Former Detroit Lions defensive back and receiver Terry Barr, a rookie on Detroit's last championship team in 1957, has died. He was 73.
Barr died Thursday at his Bloomfield Hills, Mich., home after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, the team said.