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QBREES9 09-09-2010 11:19 PM

Patriots sign Brady to four-year, $72M extension through 2014
Tom Brady's eventful Thursday started with a car crash and ended with him becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history based on annual average.

The New England Patriots' star quarterback signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension, averaging $18 million per season from 2011 to 2014, league sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning previously was the league's highest-paid player at $16.25 million annually.

Brady's new deal includes $49 million guaranteed, but in essence, he is protected against injury in every year from the moment he steps on field, per a source.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King said during halftime of the Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints season opener that Patriots owner Robert Kraft told him the Brady deal will become official Friday when the team files the paperwork with the NFL.

Brady was entering the final year of a six-year, $57.3 million contract, but he insisted Wednesday that he wasn't bothered by the situation.

"It's not even a part of my thoughts right now. I haven't thought about it yesterday, today," Brady said. "I'm just thinking about the team we have to play. I owe that to this team. They have a lot of things going on, too, but when they come into work, they're focused on the team. I think that's my responsibility and my role, and that's what I love to do anyway. That's what I'm going to continue to try to do."

Brady, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, was involved in a two-vehicle accident near his Boston home Thursday morning, but he wasn't hurt and hours later practiced as usual. The Patriots open the season Sunday at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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