NFL quarterbacks don’t usually miss an extended stretch shortly before the start of the season, but Tom Brady is no typical quarterback.
The 45-year-old is expected to be out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for at least 10 days, the team revealed Thursday. Bucs officials downplayed the development as nothing to alarm fans and expressed confidence that Brady will be ready to lead Tampa Bay in their Week 1 game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11.
“There aren’t a lot of 45-year-olds playing at MVP level with seven Super Bowls in their back pocket,” general manager Jason Licht said. said with a smile on Tampa radio station WDAE, “so we’re not concerned about that at all.”
Licht added that Brady’s previously unexpected absence, which began on Thursday, was in the works.
“He’s going to take care of some personal things,” coach Todd Bowles said Told journalists after training on Thursday. “It’s something we talked about before the start of training camp.”
Bowles indicated that Brady, who briefly retired after last season before changing his mind and returning to the Bucs, was taking advantage of the fact that he was going to be sidelined in the first two preseason games of Tampa Bay. The team hosts the Miami Dolphins on Saturday before traveling to Tennessee to face the Titans on August 20. Tampa Bay’s preseason roster concludes with a road game against the Indianapolis Colts on August 27, then it will face Dallas in “Sunday Night Football” to start the regular season.
Bowles said Brady would return after the Titans game. In the meantime, the coach said, his absence is helping the team’s quarterbacks – Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask and Ryan Griffin – gain valuable reps in practice.
“We trust him,” Bowles, in his first season as Bucs head coach, said of Brady. “We talked about it.”
When asked if the quarterback’s issue was health-related, Bowles said, “It’s a personal issue. That’s all I can tell you.
Bowes said he has a “pretty high” level of confidence that Brady will be under center in Week 1.
Brady’s level of commitment to the Bucs has been questioned in some quarters following the revelation that, despite his contract status with Tampa Bay, he and his agent had inadmissible contact with the Dolphins during and after the 2021 season. This news stems from an NFL investigation that sanctioned Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and his team for violating league policies relating to integrity of play.
This alliance with Miami, which the NFL also revealed, included banned communication in 2019 and 2020, when Brady was a member of the New England Patriots, continued to hover over the Bucs this week as they spend several days in practice against the Dolphins before their preseason game.
Brady did not speak to the media about the NFL investigation. After he and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa were spotted chatting at the practice field Wednesday, the Miami starter told reporters he was picking the brains of the 22-year-old NFL veteran for get tips on how to maintain such amazing longevity.
As for his feelings about the Dolphins’ pursuit of Brady for years — which may not be quite over — Tagovailoa said Wednesday, “I’m still here. To me, it’s just noise at this point.
Bowles, when asked on Thursday if he had any concerns that Brady’s absence was related to a possibly wavering commitment to the Bucs, replied: “Based on our conversation, I’m not worried, no .”
“Of course we were going to let him do what he had to do,” Licht said. said of Brady in his radio appearance. “He is focused like never before. He will come back even more focused. It’s the least of our worries. …Business as usual here.
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