Licht confirmed that Brady stays in touch with the organization. Brady retired February 1 after a 23-year NFL career, and he has been occupied with family and business ventures since.
“I know he still keeps in touch with a lot of players,” Licht told reporters on Tuesday, July 25. “I kept in touch with him — still do.”
It also confirms Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr.‘s recent comments about talks with Brady during the “Richard Sherman Podcast” this month. Sherman, who also played with Brady and the Bucs in 2021, concurred that a return is possible.
“I’m sure we’re still reaching out to him trying to see if he’s trying to come back to the team,” Winfield told Sherman. “Hey, it could happen. Anything’s possible.”
“It’s up in the air, man,” Winfield later clarified with Sherman.
Whether or not that translates to a potential second comeback remains to be seen. Brady previously retired and unretired in 2022, but he did that in a 41-day span between February and March.
The Light Grows Dimmer For a Tom Brady Comeback
Licht said last year that he would leave a “light on” for Brady, but this year in February, Licht showed less confidence in a return. Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin confirmed the latter with a comment about being surprised if Brady would come back again during “The Rich Eisen Show” recently.
“I honestly, I think that’s pretty funny,” Godwin told Eisen. “I’d be very surprised if he came out of retirement again, like, he put me down but I’d be very, very shocked.”
Bucs Hold QB Competition For Now
“One thing I’m looking forward to is, this is really the first time since I’ve been here, and I’m going on Year 10, of a true quarterback competition,” Licht told reporters.
For most of Licht’s tenure, it’s been Brady for the past three years and Jameis Winston for the previous five. Josh McCown started for the Bucs initially in 2014, but he split time with Mike Glennon amid injury that year.
Mayfield and Trask have a bigger gap in experience than those two. Trask only has 10 regular season snaps while Mayfield, a former No. 1 pick, has 71 career starts — including two in the playoffs.
“One thing I’m looking forward to is just how hyper-focused we’re going to be in those practices here at the beginning of camp for the first few weeks, at least,” Licht added. “Just to see who takes the next step forward.”
“People can have in their head, ‘Well, it seems like it’s for sure going to be this person or it’s not going to be this person,’ but until we’re out there, anything can happen. It’s going to be a lot of fun just to really focus on how this is going to play out,” Licht concluded.