For the first time in his career, Tom Brady will play for a team other than the New England Patriots. The future Hall of Fame quarterback wrote a letter (on The Players’ Tribune) to the Patriots and its fans, touching on his decision to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and his lasting memories with the only franchise he’s ever known.
Brady Describes the Beginning of his Patriots Journey
The Patriots selected Brady with the No. 199 overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. He described how he heard about his name being selected, as Bill Belichick was not the one to deliver the message.
I remember I was sitting in my parents’ house in San Mateo, California, growing less and less confident that the phone would ring. But late in the draft it did. By the way, in the sixth round it’s not like Coach Belichick himself was on the other end of the line — I think it was his assistant, Berj. “We just wanted to let you know you’ve been picked by the New England Patriots,” Berj said.
Brady admitted that he was exactly sure where New England was. When he made his first post-draft flight, he landed in Providence and not Boston, and he said there was an adjustment period to living on the east coast. Brady would get fully acclimated in no time, though he had no idea that he would be there for two decades.
Brady said the relationships with those in the organization are what he will miss the most in addition to the fans’ unwavering support. He specifically mentioned owner Robert Kraft and his family. There’s no mention of Belichick other than the coach not calling him on draft day.
The Next Chapter of Brady’s Journey
Brady said he’s physically capable to play the position at a high level. He admits that he likely won’t play 10 years, though how he could “maximize” the remaining years played a major role in his decision.
In the time left, the question is, How can I keep maximizing what I do, put everything I can into it, make it the best I possibly can? At this point in my career, the only person I have to prove anything to is myself. Physically, I’m as capable of doing my job as I’ve ever been. Now I want to see what more I can do. I want to see how great I can be. I want to hear other people say, “Go, man. Now that’s what we’ve been missing. That’s what we need! That’s what we’ve been looking for!” Deep down I know what I can do. I know what I can bring. Now I want to see it in action.
Brady, who will turn 43 in August, inked a two year deal with the Buccaneers. The contract is fully guaranteed.
The offensive weaponry in Tampa Bay is fully loaded. Mike Evans might be the best wide receiver Brady has played with since Randy Moss. Chris Godwin was a breakout star in 2019 and the team has two talented tight ends in Cameron Brate and OJ Howard. While the situation looks improved compared to what was in New England, Brady knows he’ll encounter an adjustment period in his new home.
A familiar rhythm can be comforting and great. But it can also make you lose sight of other rhythms, newer ones that remind you of everything that hasn’t been done yet. One isn’t necessarily better than another — they’re different, is all. Playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a change, a challenge, an opportunity to lead and collaborate, and also to be seen and heard. And I know my time there will be as amazing in its own way as what came before.
It will be different — that goes with the territory. Different coaches. Different players. Different programs. Right now I have no idea how to get to Raymond James Stadium, or where the meeting rooms are, or where everybody sits. It will be a learning curve, in the same way it was remembering that the Atlantic Ocean is always due east.
Brady still things to prove to himself. He said he’s trying to do something that had never been done in the NFL. Peyton Manning is the only QB in his story to win Super Bowls with two different franchises, having earned his second nod at age 39. If Brady becomes the second QB to join that list in 2020, he’d do so at age 43. Brady said the challenges at this age are “actually fun” for him.
That’s actually fun for me, too, because I know I can do them. When a team gives you the opportunity to do those things with them, well … if not with them, then who?
At some point, you have to throw your whole body into what you’re doing. You have to say, Let’s ride. Let’s see what we got.
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