“Tom Brady ain’t a part of this team. Tom Brady is above this team,” former NFL defensive back and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark said “First Take” on Monday, October 17. “It’s hurting his team, it’s hurting his individual play, and it is not the legacy that he has built in TB12.”
Clark, who played against Brady many times between 2002 and 2014, joined other national media members in calling out Brady for missing that final practice session due to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft‘s wedding on October 14 in New York. Brady looked off amid the Bucs’ 20-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, October 16, and didn’t throw a touchdown pass until late in the game.
Brady, who played in New England for two decades before joining the Bucs, attended the wedding with at least 11 other former Patriots. Longtime Patriots head coach Bill Belichick notably didn’t attend the wedding, which he shared on WEEI, and no current Patriots players were reported in attendance.
Former Bucs receiver and current NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson said Brady’s decision also could send the wrong message to the Bucs’ locker room.
“I’m not saying he’s not prepared, but people in the locker room are going to start looking at you sideways like, ‘hold on man, you can’t just be cheating the system that everybody else has to go through’ and all of a sudden it don’t work out,” Johnson said on ESPN2’s “Keyshawn, JWill and Max” on Monday.
Shannon Sharpe, a Hall of Fame tight end and current FS1 analyst, noted that Brady threw against a weakened Steelers secondary full of backups. Brady meanwhile had his top receivers, Sharpe added.
“He looked [like a] hot mess,” Sharpe said on FS1’s “Undisputed” on Monday.
How Brady’s Performance Suffered vs. Steelers
Brady’s on-field performance looked well short of his best days in New England or Tampa Bay as he mustered 25-40 passing for 243 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. His 87.8 passer rating marked his lowest of the season.
Additionally, Brady’s 62.5% completion rate marked his second-lowest of the season along with his 6.1 yards per completion. He did worse in both areas at New Orleans in Week 2, but he managed to guide the Bucs to a go-ahead touchdown and game-sealing field goal in that one. Against the Steelers, the Bucs settled for field goals on the first three red zone trips, including one where the Bucs had a first and goal inside the 5-yard line.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles backed up Brady’s absence after the loss to the Steelers. Bowles claimed it “absolutely” didn’t impact his play.
“No, he didn’t miss anything,” Bowles told the media. “He had a full week of practice.”
Either way, things didn’t work for Brady and the Bucs offense on Sunday, which Brady admitted.
“Honestly, everything was a challenge today,” Brady told reporters. “There was nothing that was not challenging to our offense. We have to do a lot better job in every area.”
Brady Fined for Kick
Brady already had a tough end to the week going into Week 6 with getting fined $11,000 for kicking Atlanta Falcons defensive end Grady Jarrett in Week 5 per sources via ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Brady took plenty of heat that week getting special treatment amid a roughing the passer call against Jarrett, but Brady doubled down that the referees aren’t perfect.
“No one wants any missed calls,” Brady said in an October 13 press conference. “There’s a lot of things I see that are probably pretty challenging to officiate, probably pretty challenging to play defense with, so I don’t have the answers to all those. I don’t think the referees are robots, I don’t think they’re trying to get it wrong, I don’t think they’re always going to get it right. I feel bad for a guy when they get called something that probably shouldn’t be that way. Sometimes you’ve just got to shake it off.”