His name is greeted with smiles, laughs, taunts of “cheater” and, sometimes, utter disbelief.

“Guys (in bars) have gotten a little agitated because I continued to tell them my name is Tom Brady,” said Thomas C. Brady III, from the Aroostook County town of Sherman. “At that point, I usually show them my ID and we end up drinking a beer together.”

Being Tom Brady is not always easy, when you’re not that Tom Brady, the “Greatest Of All Time” NFL quarterback, the man who almost single-handedly has transformed the New England Patriots from sad-sack losers to a football dynasty. But it’s always exciting, and thought-provoking, this Brady says. The 28-year-old nurse has always been proud to share his name with “TB12.”

There are others who share the fairly common name. Whitepages.com lists seven Tom Bradys who appear to live in Maine. (For this story we reached two others, who declined to be interviewed, and left messages for three more that went unreturned.)

Tom Brady of Sherman has never shied away from his name. While at Katahdin Middle/High School, he had a hat made that said “Katahdin’s Tom Brady.” He was an instant hit at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, where people relished introducing him as Tom Brady. He says to this day most of his friends call him Tom Brady instead of just Tom, the way the Peanuts’ gang always says Charlie Brown and never just Charlie. He’s spent more than half his life in the glow of that other Tom Brady’s stardom, and he’s had a lot of time to think about it. He doesn’t try to shy away from being Tom Brady; he’s never had a nickname or gone by TC. He’s proud that his name might make people think of the positive qualities the other Tom Brady embodies.

“We need people like Tom Brady in our lives to keep us motivated and to keep us powering through,” Brady wrote in an email from Kotzebue, Alaska, where he is working temporarily. “If Tom Brady has done the impossible over and over again, what is stopping me from completing college, working for a promotion or stepping out of my comfort zone?”

Brady grew up in Sherman, a town of about 800 people in northern Maine near Baxter State Park. He was about 12 when he first became aware of the pass-throwing Brady, watching him beat the St. Louis Rams in 2002 during the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win. He was a big football fan and was excited that his name was on the jersey of the man who was making all of New England proud. But it wasn’t until the Patriots won two more Super Bowls, in 2004 and 2005, that Brady began to realize his name really got people’s attention.

As a teenager, he worked at Sherman’s grocery store/post office, and his smile and positive energy always disarmed people, even before they knew his name, said his sister, Amy Brady. At high school basketball games he was “the funny kid” in the stands who would get the crowd pumped, even more than the team’s actual mascot would, his sister said.

“I guess people do think of Tom Brady, the quarterback, when they hear his name, but it’s never bothered him,” she said. “He’d just say, ‘Yeah, but I’m Tom Brady.’ ”

When Brady got married last year, his wife, Samantha, had a jersey made that reads “Bradys Wife” with the No. 12 on the back. She and Brady posed for a picture – he in an official Patriots’ No. 12 jersey and she in hers – and sent it out to friends and relatives.

He met his wife in college and both are nurses. For the past three years, both have worked for a company that gives them temporary nursing assignments around the country. They’ve been in far northern Alaska for three months and will be there another three. They plan to come back to Maine later this year.

On nursing assignments, he has lived in places where there are a lot of Patriot “haters,” including in Florida (Miami Dolphins fans) and Nebraska (Denver Broncos fans). Brady and his wife would go to local sports bars, with all their Patriots gear on, to watch games. Even in enemy territory, he’s not afraid to tell people who he really is.

“Generally, I like to catch people off-guard when I say my name, especially the haters, because it gets them riled up,” Brady said in the email.

But this Sunday, when Tom Brady of the New England Patriots plays in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles, Tom Brady of Sherman, Maine, won’t be able to watch. He has to work, as a nurse, where his job is to make people feel better.

Seems that’s something the Tom Bradys have in common.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

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Twitter: RayRouthier

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