Tom Brady is suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL regular season, but the New England Patriots quarterback is ready to take the field for the first time this year. Brady’s punishment from the Deflategate scandal doesn’t prevent him from playing exhibition games, and he’s expected to start in Week 2 of the preseason.
Brady sat against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, but The Boston Herald reports that he’ll play on Thursday night. New England hosts the Chicago Bears a little more than three weeks before the season opener.
Brady rested last week, giving backup Jimmy Garoppolo plenty of snaps to get ready for his upcoming four-week run as the team’s starter. The 2015 second-round draft pick more than held his own, completing 11 of 18 passes for 168 yards. He was sacked twice and didn’t throw a touchdown or an interception.
New England was able to win without their four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, defeating the New Orleans Saints 34-22. Running back Tyler Gaffney was probably the team’s top performer, rushing for 64 yards and a score on just nine carries.
Brady isn’t expected to see much action, as Garoppolo gets ready for the start of the season. Brady will be eligible to return on Oct. 9 when the Patriots visit the Cleveland Browns.
Whoever is at quarterback for New England will likely be without the Patriots’ top two weapons. Rob Gronkowski is expected to sit as he battles a bruise, though the injury isn’t considered to be serious. Edelman will likely be sidelined as he looks to recover from an injured left foot.
Chicago played their starting quarterback in Week 1, but they didn’t have nearly as much success as New England. Jay Cutler attempted four passes, completing three for 18 yards, and the Bears went on to lose in a shutout. They were blanked 22-0 by the defending champion Denver Broncos.
The Bears are hoping to get more production from their running game, which totaled just 48 yards on 17 carries last week. Brian Hoyer was the leading passer, tossing for 81 yards and an interception.
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: WBZ (New England), FOX (Chicago)
Online Stream: NFL Game Pass