It doesn’t surprise Tampa Bay Buccaneers players to see Tom Brady get rid of the knee sleeve he’s used since tearing an ACL in 2008.
“Tom’s toughness is on another level,” Bucs tight end Gronkowski said per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “Sometimes you don’t even know what he’s dealing with and he’s just dealing with it on his own.”
Brady played the whole 2020 season with a torn MCL, and he had knee surgery afterward. He took the knee sleeve off at training camp last week. Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans concurred with Gronkowski on Brady keeping quiet on playing hurt. Evans didn’t know Brady had a torn MCL.
I knew he was hurt, hurt pretty bad,” Evans said per Laine. “But you know, he’s as tough as you’re going to get. He was battling. I didn’t know it was torn. But it speaks to how tough of a player he really is.”
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Brady on Sleeve: ‘I Don’t Need It’
Brady gradually shed his knee sleeve at camp by rolling down to his shin o July 26 and taking it off on July 27 per Jenna Laine.
“I don’t need it. It’s been 14 years since I’ve (started wearing) it. It feels good,” Brady said about the sleeve on July 30 per Laine.
Brady added that his knee “feels good now,” too.
“It was not my favorite offseason of all time,” Brady said per Laine. “I haven’t had surgery in a long time, so you kinda forget the rehab process and so forth. It’s kind of a long, arduous offseason when you go through rehab like that. I got a lot of time with my family and stuff. That was really enjoyable. I’m happy to be back to work. I’ve just gotta get out and try to get better tomorrow.”
The Bucs moved to practice in pads on July 31. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians called the first week “soccer practice” jokingly according to Brady.
“Coach [Arians] said a good thing today, soccer practice is over – which really means we haven’t played any football,” Brady noted, per Pewter Report. “There’s no pads, no tackling, no run force, not run fits, no breaking tackles, no play action response. Things will change quite a bit tomorrow.”
Gronkowski Long-Witnessed Brady’s Grit
Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski joined forces with Brady in New England two years after the 2008 ACL tear, but Gronkowski has seen Brady come back from injuries plenty of other times.
Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer highlighted some of Brady’s biggest moments overcoming injury. Brady played Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 despite a separated left shoulder. He played with ligament damage to his right hand, his throwing hand, for the 2013 AFC championship game. He threw for 505 yards despite a collateral ligament sprain in his right thumb.
Gronkowski played with Brady in all three of those games.
“He’s always shown that toughness mentality throughout his whole career, and he does whatever he needs to do to get it done. It’s impressive,” Gronkowski added.
Brady Looks 100 Percent at Camp
Evans is confident that Brady is back 100 percent from knee surgery for a 22nd NFL season.
“I can see a difference,” Evans said about Brady at camp this year according to Laine. “He looks very springy and wiry right now.”
Laine noted that Brady “looks stable when shifting his weight and stepping into his throws” at camp. Brady even said he would like to play in the preseason games per Laine. CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo noted that Brady has played in preseason games every year but twice in his career.