Today, Tom Brady is an NFL vet — he’s a six-time Super Bowl champion and National Football League MVP, and in his first game as quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, the 43-year-old became the oldest oldest player in the NFL to score a touchdown. But as a teenager, Brady had odd jobs like just like everyone else. And there’s one that he recalls as “the worst,” he said on a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast, “Armchair Expert.”
In elementary school and the start of high school, Brady had a newspaper route in San Mateo, California. (Billionaire Warren Buffett, Vanguard founder Jack Bogle and even Walt Disney also grew up delivering newspapers.) Brady’s mom, Galynn Brady, would drive him around in the family’s van and “I would throw the papers out of the side of the car,” he said.
“I made I think, 25 bucks a month,” Brady said on the podcast.
While that job was “maybe career training,” Brady joked with Shepard about throwing the newspapers, one of Brady’s summer jobs while at University of Michigan was decidedly less appealing.
“I worked like cleaning industrial manufacturing plants in Michigan, Bloomfield Hills,” Brady said. ”Literally scrubbing ceilings.”
At the end of a day cleaning the plant, Brady said he would be in pain, with sore shoulders and elbows. “I was like, this is the worst job I could ever imagine,” Brady said.
Brady’s other summer jobs included working nights as park security at a festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1996, and as a sales representative at a golf course in 1998 and 1999 so he could play golf for free, Brady said in a 2017 post-game press conference.
“You get a scholarship check, but you’re trying to afford, like all of us were, our college experience,” he said.
Brady has made $350 million in his career as a professional football player, according to Forbes. In March, Brady signed a two-year $50 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after playing for the New England Patriots from 2000 to 2019. His last season with the Patriots, he made a total of $45 million including his salary and endorsements, according to Forbes.
Still, his professional football career was never guaranteed. He “wasn’t sure he would be drafted at all,” he wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune in April. Brady was the New England Patriots’ sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL draft, and was the 199th pick in the league. He even had a backup plan to work in finance. (He was a favorite at his summer internships assisting a senior sales broker at Merrill Lynch in Ann Arbor in 1998 and 1999.)
Despite Brady’s athletic and financial success today, he still remembers his roots: “I’ve said for a long time, working out and training and being out on the practice field never feels like work to me,” he said in the 2017 interview. “But that definitely felt like work when you’re cleaning up industrial parks and scrubbing the tops of roofs and stuff like that. Man, I was pretty tired at the end of those days.”