Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady opened up about the team signing Antonio Brown now that the move has been made official. Brady developed a relationship with Brown during their short stint together with the Patriots. The Bucs quarterback reflected on why he is willing to support Brown despite his off-the-field troubles.
“I had a lot of people support me over the years, realizing that I was far from where I needed to be and they would guide me and provide me with the help that I needed as a player to reach my potential,” Brady noted, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “I think that’s – how you impact people, and we talk about that a lot as professional athletes – how you impact people on the field is one thing, how you impact people off the field is another. So whether that’s teammates that you can impact or people in the community that you can impact, I think all those things are important.
Brady Does Not Believe He Is Risking His Reputation: ‘He’s His Own Individual’
The Buccaneers quarterback initially only spoke in general terms about the move after the team’s Week 7 win over the Raiders. Brady has now provided more details about his thoughts on Brown on multiple occasions through weekly press conferences as well as his Westwood One radio show with Jim Gray. During an interview with Gray, Brady squashed the notion that he is risking his reputation by pushing for Brown to receive another opportunity.
“No, he’s his own individual,” Brady said, via Tampa Bay Times. “Everybody has the opportunity in life, and again, I’m just happy that he’s got another opportunity to play in the NFL. … I love playing football, I know he does too. He’s joining a group of (receivers) who are extremely hard-working, extremely selfless.”
Arians Denied Brady Had Anything to Do With the Bucs Signing A.B.
The move was somewhat surprising given Brown had most recently been linked to the Seahawks. Throughout the offseason, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians repeatedly denied the team had any interest in Brown. This caused many to speculate that Brady pushed for Brown to be signed, but Arians denied the quarterback had anything to do with the Buccaneers’ decision to sign the receiver.
“I know everybody wants to say Tom Brady lobbied us to get this done,” Arians told NBC Sports’ Peter King. “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.”
We would be a bit naive to take Arians’ comments at face value as it is hard to imagine Brady’s relationship with Brown did not play some role in the decision. The Buccaneers’ recent injuries at wide receiver likely became the tipping point in prompting the team to take a chance by signing Brown. The receiver was at practice with the Buccaneers on October 28 and will be able to play against the Saints in Week 9 after serving the remainder of his suspension.