Tom Brady Relentlessly Pressured Bucs to Sign Star Receiver: Report

Bucs Rumors

Getty Tom Brady pressured the Bucs to sign Antonio Brown.

As time goes on, new details are being revealed about just how impactful Tom Brady was in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ decision to sign Antonio Brown in 2020. Lars Anderson, author of the new book A Season in the Sun detailing the Bucs’ championship run, shared an interesting anecdote about Brady campaigning for Brown during an interview on The Colin Cowherd Podcast.

“Tom was constantly going into the offices of B.A. [Bruce Arians] and Jason Licht, again the general manager, saying, ‘We gotta sign Antonio. We gotta sign Antonio. Gotta sign Antonio,'” Anderson detailed on November 3. “And he kind of just wore them out, and so finally they call Antonio in after some of his legal stuff had been resolved. They get him into the building, and Antonio said all the right things.

“And so, Bruce and Jason decide to take a chance, again this is almost like more blind faith in Tom, and I don’t want to overstate that Tom played this role of assistant general manager, but he certainly impacted the decisions that Jason Licht ultimately made.”

ALL the latest Bucs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bucs newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Bucs!

Arians Previously Stated A.B. Was ‘Not a Fit’ for the Bucs

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians previously downplayed Brady’s influence on the team’s decision to sign Brown. Instead, Arians cited the Bucs’ rash of injuries at wide receiver as the main reason for his change of heart.

“I know everybody wants to say Tom Brady lobbied us to get this done,” Arians told NBC Sports’ Peter King in October 2020. “Tom Brady lobbied me back in, gosh, June, July, August. I said no. It didn’t fit then. Now, we’re in the hunt. I owe it to the rest of my players—if there’s a guy that fits our salary cap cheap, who’s a Pro Bowl-type player, let’s bring him on our squad.

“Who says he has to start? I mean, we just got another Pro Bowl player to put in if one of those guys go down. AB brings another dynamic to our team that we don’t have. I owe it to the rest of our players to put the best team out there possible. I don’t foresee any problems. I don’t anticipate any situation where he and I are gonna have a problem. He knows that if there is, it’s a very short-lived contract.”

It was quite the change of heart from Arians who shot down the Brown rumors during the previous offseason. During a March 2020 interview with Tiki & Tierney, Arians emphasized that Brown is “not a fit in our locker room.”

“It’s not gonna happen,” Arians said of Brown at the time, via Bleacher Report. “There’s no room. It’s just not gonna happen. It’s just not a fit here.”

Brown Stayed With Brady During His First Few Weeks in Tampa

Anderson revealed that it was Brady who picked up Brown from the airport when the star receiver first arrived in Tampa. As has been well documented, Brown briefly stayed with Brady as he got acclimated to living in Florida. The receiver’s proximity helped Brady bring Brown up to speed on the Buccaneers playbook.

“And then, when Antonio flies into Tampa, he doesn’t know anybody in Tampa, so Tom actually picks him up at the airport,” Anderson added. “Who picks up people at the airport these days? Tom was living in Derek Jeter’s mansion, the biggest house in Tampa. Jeter recently sold it, but he and Gisele lived there last year and Antonio Brown stayed with them for a week or two.

“And the two would go over the playbook together, and now, well you just go back to last season, how important Antonio Brown became to that team. And I know he’s hurt right now but moving forward this year, Antonio Brown is going to be an immensely important player.”