“He’s a human. At the end of the day, he’s got personal problems going on, but he’s been doing this so long, he doesn’t need to be here,” White told reporters on Wednesday, August 11.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles didn’t use similar phrasing to White’s when talking about Brady’s 10-day absence through the August 20 preseason game at Tennessee. Bowles noted that “it was scheduled way before training camp” and that it will benefit the backup quarterbacks.
“Tom has been excused today …. he’s going to deal with some personal things. We allotted this time because he wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys with two weeks of training camp, knowing he wasn’t going to play the first two [preseason] games,” Bowles told the media.
White, who has played with Brady for two seasons, reiterated that Brady will be back and ready.
“He’s a grown man, growner than a lot of us in the locker room,” White said. “He’s going to get his work in. When he comes back, he’ll never miss a beat. … More than football, we’re praying for whatever he’s got going on as a human being. We hope everybody else does too.”
Brady previously missed practice on August 5 due to a personal matter, which wasn’t disclosed. Bowles expressed confidence in Brady being ready for the opener at Dallas on September 11. Greg Auman of The Athletic noted that Brady could “have three full weeks to prepare” with the Bucs before that game.
“Per our conversation, I’m not worried,” Bowles said.
The latest Bucs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bucs newsletter here!
How Serious is Brady’s Absence?
Brady, who retired for 41 days in February and March, cited family as the main reason for his decision before he returned to the Bucs on March 13.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport speculates that Brady really could just be seeking work/life balance. Rapoport floated the speculation during the “Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday.
“To my knowledge Tom Brady & his family are fine, and it’s not a medical emergency … the best description I got was it’s important to find a work/life balance,” Rapoport said on the show.
Brady notably talked about changing priorities as a professional athlete with a family in previous interviews such as his exclusive interview with Complex. He said that “they deserve my time and energy and they’re getting older” in the interview.
Brady has a high school-age son, Jack, in New York and another son, Benjamin, and daughter, Vivian, in Florida, who are both school age, too.
Bucs GM Jason Licht on Brady: ‘It’s The Least of Our Concerns’
Bucs general manager Jason Licht noted the “pre-planned” nature of Brady’s absence when he talked with Tampa station WDAE at training camp.
“He’ll come back even more focused. It’s the least of our concerns,” Licht said of Brady on WDAE.
Licht, who had previously worked with Brady in New England, understands how easily the 22-year veteran can jump back into things. The seven-time Super Bowl champion has a long-standing reputation for intense offseason training and preparation.