Buccaneers Send Cryptic Message About Tom Brady’s Future

Brady Arians

Getty Tom Brady and Bruce Arians converse during a Buccaneers playoff game last season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht continued to use the word “if” when referencing Tom Brady’s retirement. Licht made several interesting comments in regards to a player that has already announced his retirement. During a March 1 interview with NFL Network’s Peter Schrager, Licht admitted the Bucs will “leave the light on” for Brady in case he has a change of heart.

“We’ll see what the future holds,” Licht explained on Good Morning Football. “Let’s just say, we’ll leave the light on. …We always leave the light on for a guy like Tom Brady.”

Earlier in the interview, Licht noted they were making alternative quarterback plans “if that’s the case that we need to move forward.” It was one of several statements made by the Buccaneers general manager that indicated it is not just the media that is speculating about Brady’s future.

“Tom is a special player, special person,” Licht explained. “We’ve had a great two years here. Right now, we’re trying to make our plans to move forward, if that’s the case that we need to move forward on. There’s a lot of things that we still have to give. There’s a lot of time here, well, a couple weeks before free agency starts. We got the draft. You got the post-draft. We’ve added players after the draft in the past, some significant impact players after the draft and after free agency. So, we’re in that process right now.”

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Arians on a Possible Brady Comeback: ‘He Slammed It Shut’

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians also left the door cracked for a potential Brady comeback but did not sound as optimistic about a possible return as Licht. Arians noted that Brady “slammed it shut” in his conversations with the legendary quarterback about a possible return.

“He slammed it shut when I talked to him,” Arians noted on March 1, per Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud. “I think like a lot of these guys, he likes to have his name out there.”

During an interview with ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, Arians left room for a possible Brady comeback but also added that the team is making plans as if he will not play again.

“Also from Arians during our ESPN interview: ‘If Tom wants to come back, we’re open arms, brother,'” Darlington tweeted on March 1. “‘I don’t think it’s going to happen, and we have to prepare for next year.’ (To be clear, Brady does not have plans to return.)”

Licht on Brady’s Future: ‘I Personally Never Want to Completely Close the Door’

During his NFL Combine press conference, Licht spoke in greater detail about why the franchise has not completely ruled out Brady wearing a Buccaneers uniform again. Despite his retirement declaration, Brady remains under contract with Tampa Bay for an additional year.

“I think with a Tom Brady, I personally never want to completely close the door,” Licht told reporters on March 1. “Now, I don’t have any information that suggests that he is going to come back. I’m very good friends with him, we talk, we haven’t talked about that. I don’t want to apply any pressure, in that regard right now. He’s Tom Brady, if a Tom Brady wants to come back, we’ll welcome him back.”