FOXBOROUGH, Mass. Tom Brady ran through agility drills and said he's ready to play in the New England Patriots' opener. Bill Belichick isn't ready to say that will happen.
Neither is much of a surprise.
It would be a big surprise if the record-setting quarterback, who had a right foot injury and missed all four exhibition games, doesn't start Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"If it's up to me, there's no question" Brady said Monday. "I've been getting progressively better over the past couple of weeks. I'm excited. I'm excited to start the year."
The secretive Belichick deflected a question about whether last season's NFL MVP would start Sunday.
"We will give you the injury report on Friday," he told reporters Monday. "We will give you the practice report after we practice."
Brady didn't want to anger a coach who tells his players not to reveal too much injury information. So he wouldn't estimate how close to 100 percent he was health-wise.
"I don't know," Brady said with a smile. "Coach hates percentages, so I usually don't give them. I have been yelled at more times with comments I make so I am laying off that one. Write that, so he reads that, too."
No matter the percentage, all signs point to Brady extending his playing streak to 128 games, third most in history among NFL quarterbacks. Only Brett Favre (275) and Peyton Manning (173) have longer streaks, and both are still going on.
And now the exhibition games are over.
"I felt like I could play all of them and I practiced the entire preseason, pretty much," Brady said. "The decision was made that, OK, Tom, you're not going to play, and I was fine with it."
A week ago, Brady said he would be ready for the Chiefs. Since then, he said, his foot has improved "quite a bit."
CHAD JOHNSON COY ABOUT NAME CHANGE: Receiver Chad Johnson declined to say Monday whether he will try to get the Cincinnati Bengals to put "Ocho Cinco" on the back of his uniform this season.
Johnson had his last name legally changed to "Ocho Cinco" the moniker he gave himself based on his No. 85 last week in Florida, where he lives. He declined to talk to reporters on Monday about the reason for it.
Asked if he would try to get it on his jersey for the season opener at Baltimore, Johnson said, "It don't matter what it says. It don't matter. If it ain't about the Ravens, I don't want to talk."
The Bengals have declined to comment on the name change.
SAINTS STILL HOPE TO RETURN HOME FOR OPENER: New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said the team remains hopeful it will be able to host the season opener against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
The Saints moved their practice site to Indianapolis over the weekend to get out of the path of Hurricane Gustav. Loomis said the team's practice facility sustained only minor damage, such as damaged awnings. But the Saints still plan to practice in Indianapolis this week.
The Louisiana Superdome, which was severely damaged three years ago during Hurricane Katrina, appeared to be in good condition, too.
Still, Loomis said he has not yet spoken with league officials about the possibility of moving the game, possibly switching the two home dates between the division rivals.
PLAYERS TO WEAR PATCH IN HONOR OF UPSHAW: NFL players will wear a patch this season to honor NFL Players' Association leader Gene Upshaw, who died Aug. 20.
The league announced Monday that the patch will have the initials GU and the number 63, which he wore while playing for the Oakland Raiders.
Upshaw died of pancreatic cancer just three days after he was diagnosed.
The patch will be worn on the left chest of jerseys and is scheduled to make its debut Thursday, when the New York Giants and Washington Redskins open the season. Upshaw's wife, Terri, and his three sons will participate in the coin toss.