INDIANAPOLIS — Speaking for the first time since his 11-day absence tending to what have been described as “personal matters,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said Saturday that he “feels good” and that it was not a difficult decision to step away from the team.
“It’s all personal. Everyone’s got different situations they’re dealing with,” Brady said. “We all have really unique challenges to our life. I’m 45 years old, man. There’s a lot of s— going on. Just gotta try to figure out life the best you can. It’s a continuous process.”
When asked if he was able to address the issues he needed to address during his time away, and if he is in a better place now, Brady said, “I’m ready to go.”
Brady, who had pre-arranged the break with the team and had it cleared, thanked the Bucs for their support for allowing him to take the extended absence so close to the start of the regular season. He also indirectly shot down rumors that he wanted to play elsewhere.
“I think since I came to this organization, it’s been amazing — it’s just been an amazing experience for me to come to this place and be as supported as I have for a long period of time,” Brady said. “I read all these stories about all these different places I was supposed to go or could have gone. And I was like, ‘I only was gonna go to one place, which was here.’ I think this whole organization knows that.”
Last week UFC president Dana White said Brady was poised to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders before joining the Buccaneers in 2020, with White saying Brady even went as far as looking for a house in Vegas, and that former Raiders coach Jon Gruden killed the deal.
An NFL investigation also determined that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross contacted Brady and his agent, Don Yee, about joining their organization in December 2021. Ross was fined $1.5 million for having impermissible contact. Brady faced no discipline.
“All the conversations we’ve had over a period of time — I chose the right place for me. And I’m very proud of the effort that everyone’s put in to make the relationship work. [Owner/co-chairman] Joel [Glazer] has been amazing. [General manager] Jason [Licht’s] a great friend of mine. Bruce [Arians],Todd [Bowles], all the coaches. It’s been an amazing relationship and I’m very grateful to everybody for allowing me to come down here and experience this part of my football life which, [if] I looked back, it would probably be incomplete had I not had it. I’m happy I’ve had it.”
Brady practiced in full for three days this week and started against the Colts, playing one series. The goal was to try to get him around 10 plays. He completed 6 of 8 passes for 44 yards, setting up a 30-yard field goal by Ryan Succop.
After incompletions to wide receivers Tyler Johnson and Mike Evans, the Bucs went no-huddle, and Brady completed six straight passes, including a 20-yard completion to Julio Jones — their first in-game connection together. It was also the first time nearly all of the Bucs’ starters on offense played together.
“It was smooth,” said rookie running back Rachaad White. “Tom’s Tom. He’s our leader. He’s everything we want. He’s our captain. It was just a great feeling to have him back out there. He’s iconic.”