Brady began recruiting new Bucs veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph in 2021, which Rudolph shared on the “GoJo with Mike Golic Jr. ” podcast on Monday, July 25. Rudolph passed on the Bucs for the New York Giants, but his second chance came around with a release by the Giants and Rob Gronkowski‘s retirement from the Bucs. Rudolph to the “GoJo” hosts that Brady called beforehand in May.
“[Brady] was like, ‘Don’t know what Gronk’s going to do but we need you down here anyways,'” Rudolph said on the show. “[Brady] definitely played a huge part in the decision that I made to go down there.”
Gronkowski officially retired on June 21, and the Bucs officially signed Rudolph to a one-year deal on Monday, July 25 ahead of training camp. Rudolph had a stellar 10-year career in Minnesota as the Vikings’ all-time touchdown leader for tight ends before his stint in the Big Apple.
“It’s like, at this point in my career, you know I’m not going 4-13 again,” Rudolph told the “GoJo“ hosts. “I want to go to a bonafide winner, a team that can compete for a championship and, you know, usually along with that comes a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback. Those things seem to kind of go hand in hand. For me at this point, the only thing I have left to do is win a championship. You know, I’ve done everything else you can possibly do in this game from, you know, from an individual standpoint.”
Though Rudolph expressed interest in returning to Minnesota, history sided with Brady and the Bucs. Brady has seven Super Bowl wins while the Vikings haven’t made it past the NFC Championship Game since 1977. That included the time when Rudolph got things rolling with a touchdown for the Vikings in the 2018 title game at Philadelphia before an epic collapse, 38-7.
Minnesota missed its chance at becoming the first team to host a Super Bowl in 2018. Brady and the Bucs did it instead for the 2020 season.
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How Rudolph Met Brady
Rudolph and Brady might have trash-talk about their college rivalry — albeit different decades — since Rudolph played at Notre Dame and Brady at Michigan. However, Rudolph’s time at Notre Dame actually led him to meeting Brady.
Charlie Weiss, who coached Brady in New England as the offensive coordinator, later coached Rudolph at Notre Dame. Rudolph told the “GoJo” hosts that Weiss connected him with Brady.
The former Irish tight end said they basically ran the Patriots offense in South Bend, which had him familiar with Brady.
Rudolph Trolls Saints
Showing that he can fit right into Tampa Bay, Rudolph trolled the New Orleans Saints on Twitter with a photo of his game-winning touchdown catch against the Saints in 2020.
“Something Buccaneers and Vikings fans can all enjoy on this Saturday,” Rudolph tweeted.
Rudolph’s touchdown grab drew plenty of controversy because pushed off of Saints cornerback P.J. Williams on his way to grab the pass from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Former NFL referee Terry McAuly, said it was clearly pass interference.