Media, fans wait in vain for sign of QB Tom Brady, with or without boot on foot

As the Patriots await another chance to win a Super Bowl, photographers wait for Brady.

.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – For once, not even the paparazzi could find Tom Brady.

Or his boot.

They staked out the locker of the Patriots quarterback for 45 minutes before the media access period ended Thursday. Then they focused for the 15 minutes they were allowed into practice and found two quarterbacks, Matt Cassel and Matt Gutierrez.

That was quite a change from early in the week when Brady walked through a bunch of videographers and photographers near the New York home of his girlfriend, supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

On Monday, they took pictures of him wearing a protective boot on his right foot. Later in the day, he walked without the boot into a nightspot with Bundchen. Video on Tuesday also captured him without the boot as he headed for and entered a cab.

“I’m going to put on a boot and see if you all follow me around,” New England halfback Heath Evans joked before practice.

Brady, the NFL MVP, reportedly has a minor ankle sprain that shouldn’t keep him out of the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 against the New York Giants.

Coach Bill Belichick and several players treated the Brady-boot saga with a mixture of stonewalling and smiles.

“I don’t have any comment on it,” Belichick said in a news conference before the Patriots held their first practice for the Super Bowl. “The injury report will be out next Wednesday and we’re excited to give that to you. That form will be filled out completely and I can’t wait to give that to everybody.

“I know you’re anxious for it, so when it’s due on Wednesday, we’ll have it for you. Don’t worry about that.”

While Patriots’ fans were concerned about the boot on Brady’s foot, defensive end Richard Seymour was more taken with the bouquet in Brady’s hand.

“Every channel I turned to, there it was, magnifying in on the boot,” he said. “To me, the good part was the flowers. I wasn’t in on the boot.”

Other players commented, or declined to, in more typical Patriots fashion: Stay away from anything controversial and never discuss injuries.

“I didn’t see the video and I don’t know anything about it,” safety Rodney Harrison declared.

Cornerback Ellis Hobbs was no more forthcoming.