Tom Brady broke his silence, addressing why he was absent from training camp for 11 days.
While the 45-year-old former NFL and Super Bowl MVP didn’t elaborate on specific reasons why he took time away from camp — Pro Football Network previously reported that it was for family reasons that included a planned trip to the Bahamas with his wife, Gisele Bundchen, and their children — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran quarterback alluded to the challenges of life.
Tom Brady reacts and talks about his on-field performance
“It’s all personal,” Brady said during a late-night press conference following a preseason game. “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.”
Brady was asked if he has addressed those issues during his absence from the team and simply said: “I’m ready to go.”
Brady owns seven Super Bowl rings, played at an extremely high level last season, and didn’t display signs of rust on the field during a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
In his only series of play and preseason playing time, Brady was sharp. He completed 6 of 8 passes for 44 yards to lead a scoring drive in a no-huddle offense.
“I’ve played a lot of football in my day, a lot of practices, a lot of games, and a lot of seasons,” Brady said. “I’m ready to go.”
Brady connected with new wide receiver Julio Jones for a 20-yard completion, too.
“Julio’s really easy to have chemistry with,” Brady said. “He’s an elite wide receiver in the NFL.”
Brady addresses reports of interest with other teams
Brady has been connected to multiple reports of wanting to play for other NFL teams in recent years.
That includes the Miami Dolphins being punished for tampering charges for their ownership group being in contact with him and his representatives while he was under contract with the New England Patriots.
Then, Dana White of the UFC said, with Rob Gronkowski doubling down, that Brady was going to go to the Las Vegas Raiders at one point, only for former coach Jon Gruden to nix the deal and stick with quarterback Derek Carr.
Brady didn’t go into detail about those opportunities. Rather, he profusely thanked the Buccaneers for their support of him. He mentioned owner Joel Glazer, general manager Jason Licht, former coach Bruce Arians, and current coach Todd Bowles.
“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. All the conversations that we’ve had over a period of time, I chose the right place for me. And I’m very proud of the effort everyone’s put in to make the relationship work.
Family time was at the heart of Brady’s absence
Brady’s absence was surrounded by plenty of questions, considering how unusual it is for a player, even one of his stature, to take time away from his team during training camp.
League sources emphasized that Brady’s time away from the team involved his commitment to family and having a personal life was at the heart of this hiatus from football, and there was no medical emergency, as speculated, or other reasons.
As important as football is to Brady, so is his family, and the Buccaneers gave him his space to be with them. Bowles emphasized that Brady not being with the team was planned and communicated, which Brady confirmed. A league source said at the time that Brady was definitely not expected to retire again and would fulfill his commitments to his coaches and teammates.
Bowles had previously indicated that Brady was returning after a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans as the QB was attending to “personal things.”
The Buccaneers have previously said that Brady being away from the team was planned. They were also been somewhat circumspect about his status, wanting to respect his privacy.
Bowles, the point man for any Buccaneers questions during his daily press conferences, had said previously there was no set date for Brady’s return. That opened the door for more speculation about what’s going on with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
Brady stays in the news with Raiders revelation
During a preseason when Brady was linked to tampering attempts to get him to join the Miami Dolphins, another revelation was disclosed by White.
White told ESPN during a UFC broadcast that he nearly arranged a deal for Brady to join the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, only for Gruden to shut it down.
White told the story at the behest of former Buccaneers and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. It was supposed to be a package deal. Of course, Gronkowski has retired. And Brady nearly retired only to rejoin the Buccaneers.
“I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders,” White said. “It was almost a done deal. And at the last minute, Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn’t want him and all hell broke loose, man. It was crazy.
“And Brady was already looking at houses. It wasn’t said yet that Gronk was going to be coming. So Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except Gruden blew the deal up.”
Gronkowski expressed gratitude that the Las Vegas situation didn’t come to fruition.
“I’m glad it did not go through,” Gronkowski said on the show. “It all worked out for the best, man. I’m glad we went to Tampa, man. It just worked out. I love that place.”
And so does Brady, and now he’s back.