Brady spoke with Stern for more than two hours, discussing his underdog story from a sixth-round NFL Draft pick to arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.
He also discussed his signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March after 20 years with the New England Patriots, meeting wife Gisele Bundchen and relationships with Patriots coach Bill Belichick and President Donald Trump.
Brady said he was buried on the depth chart at Michigan after the coaches who recruited him were fired. He said he considered transferring to the University of California before getting advice that was integral in determining the rest of his Hall of Fame career.
Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr told Brady that he should stay with the Wolverines, saying he believed the young quarterback could become a good player.
The Buccaneers quarterback choked up when talking about sports psychologist Greg Harden, who helped transform his personality and outlook on life.
"I started working with a psychologist who was really an amazing influence on my life," Brady said of Harden."It's a little emotional because it was a very vulnerable time in my life because I was questioning who I was. I had gone from [growing up in] California to Michigan. I was a long way from home in a different environment. "[Harden] helped me kind of grow up from this kid in California to being more of a man and being on my own and taking more personal responsibility for my life. He wasn't going to let me be a victim." Brady said Harden helped him shift his mind from complaining to giving more effort with his limited practice repetitions. Brady turned those chances into more opportunities and eventually became the Wolverines' starting quarterback. He told Stern he now considers Harden a great friend. Harden is now the senior executive athletic director and director of athletic counseling at Michigan.
Brady carried that same mentality into his NFL career and still uses it during games. The six-time Super Bowl champion said it helped the Patriots complete one of the best comebacks in Super Bowl history.
"We were down 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51," Brady said. "You could look at that situation and basically quit and say [expletive] it. We have no shot at winning.
"Or you could say this is going to be an amazing comeback. When we come back from this, this is going to be a defining moment in our life or pro career. When you shift your mind to think that way, it becomes very empowering as opposed to being discouraging."
Brady's Patriots ended up completing the comeback by scoring 31 unanswered points to beat the Falcons for his fifth Super Bowl title in the 2017 matchup. He also was named Super Bowl MVP.
"There are a lot of things in my life that haven't gone the way I hoped they would have gone, but in the end they went exactly the way they had to go because I could never have experienced what I needed to experience to grow as a person had I not experienced them that way," Brady said.
Won't take lone credit
Brady refused to take lone credit for the Patriots' success during his decorated tenure with the AFC East franchise. He also criticised fans and analysts who say he is more responsible than Belichick for the team's six championships.
"I think it's a pretty [bad] argument," Brady said. "I can't do his job and he can't do mine. The fact that I could say I would have the same level of success without him, I don't believe I would have. I feel the same [is true] vice versa."
Brady told Stern he will always be part of the Foxborough, Mass., community, even after leaving the Patriots. He said he knew before the 2019 season that it would be his final year with the franchise.
Brady said he made a list of 20 factors to consider when he decided which team he wanted join. The list included being close to son Jack, working with great players, being able to coach and moving to a favorable climate.
"I don't think there was a final decision until it happened, but I probably knew before the start of last season that it was my last year [with the Patriots]," Brady said.
Brady, 42, also wrote about his decision to join the Buccaneers in an article Monday for The Players' Tribune. He called the move a great change, as well as a great challenge and opportunity.
Brady said one of the reasons he chose the Tampa area was because it would be easier there to achieve a balance between his NFL career and being a father to his three children.