BROWERVILLE -- You know who Tom Brady is, don't you?
He's the guy who shared time at quarterback with Drew Henson at the University of Michigan, even though Henson couldn't carry Brady's uniform.
Still unsure who Brady is?
He's the player who was picked in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, the seventh quarterback taken, behind such household names as Marcus Bulger and Giovanni Carmazzi.
Paul Johnson (left) and Gordon Johnson held an autographed picture of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is Paul's cousin and Gordon's grandson. (Dispatch Photo by Troy Gunderson)
Still doesn't ring a bell?
Brady is the guy who replaced $103 million quarterback Drew Bledsoe as the New England Patriots starter, making their relationship a bit uneasy.
Sunday, Brady will quarterback the Patriots as they play the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC championship, one victory away from a trip to "The Big Easy" and the Super Bowl.
Brady's the guy who, throughout his entire football career, has been doubted, ignored and overlooked.
There are a few people who never doubted Brady. That would be his grandfather, Gordon Johnson of Clarissa, and Brady's cousin, Paul Johnson of Browerville.
Galynn Johnson, Gordon's daughter and Tom's mother, was born and raised in Browerville. She went on to work for Northwest Airlines and met Tom Brady Sr. They married and moved to San Mateo, Calif., had Tom Jr., and the rest is history.
As a kid, Brady spent some time during the summer in Minnesota with Gordon and the rest of the family. One thing that stuck out about Brady was what he was always doing.
"Whether it was a football or baseball, Tom was always throwing a ball around," Paul said.
"He was a determined kid," Gordon said. "Whatever he did, he wanted to do it right. He was just one of those guys that wouldn't give up."
Gordon, who last talked to Brady at Christmas, feels nothing but pride when he watches his grandson. And why not? Brady is, after all, as a recent Washington Post article proclaimed, "The King of New England."
"It's been great," Gordon said of watching Brady. "I can't hardly believe it sometimes."
Paul, who has traded e-mails with Brady, still can't believe it's his cousin throwing touchdown passes while racking up a 12-3 record as a starter.
"It's hard to believe that we're watching him on TV," Paul said. "It is still hard for us to fathom.
"He's a Cinderella story. We all felt that someday he would be a household name but we didn't know it would happen so quick."
Sundays are a little more special for the Johnsons and their family. Large gatherings have become a ritual, with as many as 25 people getting together to watch Brady and the Patriots.
"We think about Sundays all week," Paul said. "We're going to my brother's house this Sunday. He's got a big-screen TV and we're all going to be there. We even get some stragglers rolling in sometimes."
Despite all of Brady's success, both Paul and Gordon know he is still the same kid who helped milk cows years ago.
"He's a down-to-earth guy," Paul said. "Tommy's got every right to pat himself on the back, but you don't see him doing that. He always gives his team credit."
Brady has had a difficult road to hoe to get to where he is today. At Michigan, Brady only played for two years. Gordon, the ever-proud grandfather, thought Michigan was making a mistake by not playing his grandson.
"He had a tough go at Michigan, running up against that Henson kid," Gordon said. "I'm sure they would've gone to the Rose Bowl if they would've let Tommy do it all."
Both Gordon and Paul are looking forward to this summer as an off-season visit from Brady is in the works.
"The last e-mail I got from him said that he requires a few things when he comes to visit," Paul said. "We have to take him fishing, we have to go to Grandpa's for fish fries and we have to go golfing."
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