Buccaneers Pro Bowler Says He ‘Knew’ Tom Brady Would Return

Ryan Jensen

Getty Tom Brady converses with Ryan Jensen during a 2021 game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen didn’t get too worried when quarterback Tom Brady, 44, announced his retirement in February before his comeback 41 days later.

“I felt like for me, him going out that way wasn’t the way he was going to go out,” Jensen told the media on Tuesday, June 7 at the Bucs’ minicamp. “I kind of had an inkling. I didn’t know until that Sunday when he called me. As a competitor and somebody who spends a lot of time with somebody, you just kind of knew.”

Brady took the field with the Bucs on the first day of minicamp amid a rollercoaster offseason. They begin the unfinished business of winning a Super Bowl after falling short to the Los Angeles Rams in last season’s playoffs.

Jensen said the team could feel the difference with Brady on the practice field and described the atmosphere as faster and more competitive.

“He expects perfection all the time. Granted, it’s day one of minicamp,” Jensen said.

It behooves the Bucs on the field to seek perfection with lingering injuries and backup players needing to step up. Star receiver Chris Godwin remains out with an ACL tear, and Russell Gage didn’t practice due to an unspecified injury.

Rookie tight end Cade Otton also didn’t practice because of an ankle injury. Rookie running back Rachaad White missed Tuesday’s practice for personal reasons but will return on Wednesday, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles told the media on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay also awaits a decision from tight end Rob Gronkowski on whether or not he will play. Bowles said there isn’t any news on the Gronkowski front and that the injury situations of the aforementioned players remain “status quo”.

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Jensen Urged to Return by Brady

Jensen appeared headed to Cincinnati when Brady unretired in March.

That quickly changed hours after Brady’s March 13 announcement. Jensen said Brady called him about coming back and urged to stay with the Bucs.

“He called me and said, ‘hey, I’m going back for real,'” Jensen told reporters. “I was wanting to come back to Tampa. I didn’t want to have to move, and look at it here, it’s gorgeous. You don’t want to leave a place like this, so obviously Tom coming back helped, but it makes it that much better.”

Pro Football Talk’s Peter King claims it was “the moment the swayed Brady back to the Bucs” when talking with PFT’s Mike Florio.

King said “…right before Ryan Jensen was making the decisions, should I stay or should I go’ … I believe that Ryan Jensen probably would have gone to Cincinnati, if that weekend Tom Brady didn’t call him and say ‘hey listen, I’m coming back, are you in?'”

Jensen Feels The Pinch

Offensive lineman’s large diets can lead to a stop for fast food occasionally, and Jensen didn’t like what he saw recently.

“Since when is six hash browns at McDonald’s 15 bucks,” Jensen tweeted on May 25.

Rising food and gas prices due to inflation has been a thing in the U.S. for months. Jensen, who has a three-year $39 million contract with the Bucs, even feels a pinch, of sorts, from it all.