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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up before a 2013 game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. With game-changing tight end Rob Gronkowski gone, however, the glory days might be over for the Pats' passing game -- at least as far as Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are concerned.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up before a 2013 game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. With game-changing tight end Rob Gronkowski gone, however, the glory days might be over for the Pats' passing game -- at least as far as Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are concerned. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - When Jarrett Stidham was born, Tom Brady was a 19-year-old redshirt freshman at Michigan. By the time Stidham was old enough to drive, Brady had already won three Super Bowl titles and owned two NFL MVP awards.

There might be a large age gap between Brady, 42, and this 23-year-old rookie, but that doesn't mean Brady can't relate. On Wednesday, the Patriots quarterback took a trip down memory lane when asked about his feelings on Stidham, who beat out his friend Brian Hoyer for the Patriots backup quarterback job.

Brady learned early in the NFL, that at quarterback, if you're not starting, it's your job to serve.

"I was a young player once, too. I had a lot of older players I worked with. I think I learned from those experiences," Brady said. "I had some great mentors - people who really taught me how to play the position. It was great at a young age to have John Friesz and Drew (Bledsoe). Then to have Damon Huard and to have Vinnie (Testaverde) and have Doug (Flutie). Then all of a sudden, it flipped. And it got Matt Cassel to Brian (Hoyer) to Jimmy (Garoppolo). So, I played with so many great guys over the years.

"I think for quarterback, it's my belief when you play a team sport, the best guy plays because that's what's best for the team. Then the other guys (backup quarterbacks) support the position. That's a good solution ... The other guys support that position the best way they can in whatever roll they're asked to do."

As Brady is set to start his 20th NFL season this weekend, he admitted that he's still protective over his starting spot in Foxborough. Of course, it's that fire that's driven Brady throughout this career.

"That's the nature of this position. It's a very competitive position. It's a great privilege," Brady said. "I've always felt when a team trusts you to be the quarterback, they put the ball in your hands and it's a great show of trust they have in you. I don't think you can rest on things that happened in the past or things that people may project on ... You're tasked with a big burden to help the offense be in the right play. You touch the ball on every play so you have the opportunity to distribute it how you see fit. With that trust, comes a lot of responsibility."

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