In an interview with NBC Sports Boston, Brady revealed that he’s worn the same Douglas 25L shoulder pads since his freshman year at Michigan. The shoulder pads are intensely cleaned every year and checked for safety, but he's happy to stick with his trusted gear over choosing something new.
“I’ve worn them for 25 years,” Brady said. “They’ve gotten reconditioned a little bit, but I think once you find something you like, you kind of stick with it. I’ve always kind of liked the way they felt, the shape of them. People have tried to put me in a lot of other ones.”
Brady found this pair to be best because it feels light despite covering low into his chest area. He worked with former Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk to get the right balance of protection and flexibility and remains in touch with him to this day.
"It becomes a personal thing and you never want to mess with that. So as long as they're happy, I'm happy," Falk said, via ESPN. "Quarterbacks always want to get their arms up, so we had to get special caps on their shoulder pads, and special epaulets. They were smaller, so you could raise your arm up and the flexibility was just unbelievable."
Brady’s shoulder pads are older than several of his teammates
Given all the hits he’s taken over the years, it’s a minor miracle Brady’s shoulder pads haven’t cracked or fallen out of use. After all, they’ve been around longer than at least 10 of his teammates have even been alive.
If we consider Brady’s shoulder pads to be 24 years old — ignoring that they were made potentially years before he got them — they’re already older than Jarrett Stidham, J.C. Jackson, Ryan Izzo, Byron Cowart, Ja'Whaun Bently, Gunner Olszewski, Jakobi Meyers, Damien Harris, Jake Bailey and Joejuan Williams. And Williams doesn’t turn 22 until December.
Even then, four other players are also 24: Chase Winovich, Sony Michel, Jakob Johnson and Jermaine Eluemunor.
Keeping your old shoulder pads is somewhat common
Brady may sound strangely superstitious for keeping the same old gear, but he’s far from the only player to do so.
Former Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz said on Twitter that he wore the same pads for four years at Oregon and just changed out the colors from green to blue when he arrived in Charlotte. Some players don’t even do that much; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was spotted in a game last year wearing a purple and gold pair of pads from his days at LSU.
Fortunately for Brady, the NFL doesn’t crack down on what kind of shoulder pads players wear or what position they’re intended for. Brady’s new teammate Michael Bennett famously wears tiny shoulder pads that are designed for kickers.
The real question becomes whether Brady would threaten to sit out the season if the league outlawed his beloved Douglas 25L shell.
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