Tom Brady Explains ‘Heated Exchange’ With Buccaneers Starter

Tom Brady

Getty Tom Brady had strong words to rookie center Robert Hainsey at Dallas.

Tom Brady quietly shook hands with center Robert Hainsey only hours after getting in the second-year lineman’s face during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ 19-3 win at Dallas on Sunday, September 11.

During the September 12 episode of Brady’s “Let’s Go!” podcast, host Jim Gray brought up the postgame exchange with Hainsey and what he called a “heated exchange” during the game. Hainsey made his first career start at center for injured Pro Bowler Ryan Jensen. Brady and Hainsey’s in-game exchange went viral on social media.

“I always get after the center pretty good, but at the same time, he knows how much I care about him and love him, too, so I’m tough on him because I have very high expectations for our communication, for certain things that happen out there” Brady told Gray. “We had a few miscommunications on when the ball was supposed to come back, and it came back a little earlier than I thought, but, you know, it’s his first game.

“You get up there on the line of scrimmage, and a lot of things [are] happening. It takes some seasoning. That’s why experience and wisdom [are] very important in life, you know, because you make a lot of mistakes,” Brady added. “But, I know he’s not the type of guy that makes them over and over again, so he’ll do a great job as we keep going.”

The Bucs picked Hainsey in the third round of the 2021 draft for his versatility as an offensive lineman. As a backup last year, he played 31 snaps in nine games but got thrust into a starting role with Jensen’s knee injury in July. Hainsey graded 67.6 in his first career start, per Pro Football Focus.

“I knew who was who, what was what and was able to communicate it,” Hainsey said on the Buccaneers Radio Network via

Hainsey noted during the Buccaneers Radio Network interview that right guard Shaq Mason, who once played with Brady in New England, helped him catch on to Brady’s instructions. During the interview, Hainsey called Mason “a good translator sometimes for what Tom’s seeing.”

Bucs GM Jason Licht: ‘Their Super Bowl’

Not only did Hainsey have to navigate working with Brady, the former Notre Dame standout had to help rookie left guard Luke Goedeke, who also made his first career start. Hainsey told the Buccaneers Radio Network that he felt “calm” in being able to do that.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht described the first game for the two young linemen as “their Super Bowl” during the Buccaneers Radio Network pregame broadcast via Hainsey and Goedeke helped the Bucs offense tally 347 total yards and 19 points.

Running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 127 yards and received the game ball, gave it to the offensive line instead, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Fournette said “I’m proud of them” and “they did a great job” afterward per Laine.

Bucs Receive Update on Injured Starter

It didn’t make things easier for the young offensive line when veteran tackle Donovan Smith injured his elbow and didn’t return. Backup tackle Josh Wells stepped in for Smith and played 39 snaps.

“I thought he settled down pretty good. He got in, he was a little jittery [but] he settled down after the first series,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said about Wells on Tuesday, September 12. “I thought he played well.”

Bowles couldn’t confirm if Smith will play in Week 2 or when he will return to the field. Smith hyperextended his elbow according to Bowles.

“It’s a pain tolerance thing, so he’s pretty sore right now. We’ll monitor him during the week,” Bowles added.