Tagged in: Tom Brady

Brady, Buccaneers begin defense of title against Cowboys

Lofty, maybe even gargantuan, expectations don’t faze Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The reigning Super Bowl champions open the 2021 NFL season versus the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, confident they have what it takes — at least on paper — to become the first team to collect back-to-back titles since Brady led the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots to consecutive crowns.

No one knows what it’s like to have a target on your back every week more than Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl winner who turned 44 during training camp — a few days after reminding teammates the first order of business is leaving last season behind.

The Bucs return all 22 starters from a top 10 offense and defense, however Brady and coach Bruce Arians stress talent alone doesn’t guarantee continued success.

“In one way, you’re not really defending it much, it’s kind of in the books. They can’t take away what we’ve done. It’s really just a whole other year and experience,” Brady said.

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“We have a lot of continuity. We have a lot of things to build on and a lot more experience together,” Brady added. “That’s really all you can ask for as players is to be in the position that we’re in. I’d just like us to go out and take advantage of that.”

With Brady entering his second season working with a bevy of playmakers that includes receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, the Bucs think they can be even more potent on offense.

The defense returns intact, too, with linebackers Devin White, Lavonte David, Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett leading the way and a youthful group of cornerbacks and safeties looking to make names for themselves.

“As good as we played with the same group of guys, I’d love to see where we can get this year,” Brady stated.

“Again, all of it is earned. There’s nothing given. It’s not about a bunch of hype or a bunch of buildup. We have to go do it,” Brady added. “I think that’s about a bunch of guys that are really mature and see ourselves as professional athletes. We want to go out there and put our best out there.”

The Cowboys are coming off a 6-10 finish in which they played most of the season without quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott returns Thursday night for the first time since suffering the severe ankle injury that ended his year last October. He didn’t play in the preseason, either, after straining his right shoulder early in training camp.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is excited to get Prescott back on the field and spoke to his team about the opportunity to face a seemingly ageless Brady and the defending champs in the season opener for the entire NFL.

“We talked about … just how fortunate we are to be part of it on whatever level, most importantly the players,” McCarthy said. “There’s definitely a youthfulness that has to exist to be successful, and I think (Brady’s) a good example if there ever was one that has played the game, or any sport, of the way you need to go about it,” McCarthy said.

“He exudes with that every time he lines up. Very consistent. I think it’s a big part of his continued success.”

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady to have minor knee surgery during offseason

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will undergo a minor surgical procedure on his knee this offseason, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The upcoming surgery was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

A source close to the situation told ESPN that this was not a recent injury and that Brady, who led the Bucs to a triumph Sunday in Super Bowl LV, had been planning the procedure for months. It wasn’t instantly clear which knee the procedure will be on.

Brady was not listed on the Bucs’ injury report all campaign. He was listed on the report as “not injury related” when he was given a handful of off days by coach Bruce Arians, something the Bucs also did with Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh and other veteran players.

Brady wore a brace on his left knee Wednesday during the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl boat parade.

But wearing the brace is not unusual for the 43-year-old Brady, who also wears it when golfing and during other recreational activities.

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Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time in his career Sunday after passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Brady’s knee certainly didn’t seem to bother him in the least during the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run. He threw 10 touchdown passes and only three interceptions in four postseason games, with a passer rating of 98.1.

Brady has already said he’ll “definitely” consider playing beyond 45. With his longevity and durability, there’s no reason to doubt him.

With the victory, Brady has more Super Bowl titles (seven) than any franchise in NFL history, topping the six each won by the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots.

Brady also became the only player with five Super Bowl MVPs; Joe Montana is second all time with three.

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Antonio Brown signs one year contract with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Antonio Brown has another team and another shot at playing in the NFL.

Brown, who is serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, officially signed a one-year deal with the Bucs Tuesday.

The deal is worth up to $2.5 million but is heavily weighted with incentives and no guaranteed money.

Brown is going through COVID-19 protocol, can attend meetings and work with strength and conditioning coaches. He is eligible to initiate practicing with the team when his suspension ends Nov. 3. Brown will earn a base salary of $750,000 and has $250,000 in per game roster bonuses.

He also has three, $250,000 performance bonuses he could reach for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. But those performance incentives are only payable if the Bucs reach the playoffs.

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In addition, there is a $750,000 bonus for winning the Super Bowl.

The Bucs are Brown’s third team since 2018.

He was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders for two draft picks but never played a match for them. A series of mishaps and unexcused absences led Jon Gruden’s team to release him.

Brown played one game with the New England Patriots with Tom Brady last campaign, catching five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in a rout over Miami.

But the Patriots cut him when he ran afoul of the law for assaulting a moving van driver.

It’s the only game Brown has played in more than 700 days. But he will try to carve out a role on a 5-2 Bucs team that incorporates Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller and rookie Tyler Johnson at receiver. Brown has more than 11,000 career receiving yards and 75 touchdowns.

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Cam Newton named Patriots starting QB, Team captain

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Patriots will hit opening day with a new starter under center. That starter is Cam Newton.

Newton was informed during a team meeting Thursday before practice, a league source confirmed to the Herald. He was also voted one of three offensive captains by his teammates.

Newton outperformed Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer throughout training camp for the right to succeed Tom Brady.

He accomplished a higher percentage of passes in live team periods than Hoyer and recorded half as many interceptions as Stidham, despite throwing double the number of passes.

Newton also adds a new dimension to the Pats’ run game, as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in NFL history.

He will lead the Patriots versus the Dolphins in their Sept. 13 season opener at Gillette Stadium at 1 p.m.

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The former MVP officially joined the Pats in early July after being released from Carolina, where he played the first nine years of his career. Faced with an unusually poor free-agent market, he signed a one-year, prove-it deal. From then on, Newton quickly won over teammates and coaches in Foxboro.

It started with his health. Injuries to Newton’s shoulder and foot prematurely ended his last two seasons and required surgery in Carolina. With the Patriots, Newton opened training camp in perfect health, showcasing a strong arm and dangerous running ability during practices.

Inside the locker room, teammates were drawn to his effervescence.

“Cam has been a joy to be around. He brings positive energy to work every day. He loves his job. He’s just a fun guy to be around,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said recently.

“I’m glad that we’ve gotten a chance to spend some time with him as a teammate and really get to know him.”

Over barely a summer, Newton has proven himself as a unique presence in the long, storied history of the franchise. He is the rare Patriot to become a captain in his first year during the Bill Belichick era. This week, Belichick said no player has worked harder.

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Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning knocked off Phill Mickelson, Tom Brady

Rain filled the South Florida air on Sunday, threatening to make a mess of The Match: Champions for Charity at Medalist Golf Club.

Instead, four sporting icons didn’t let bad weather dampen what turned out to be an exciting, fun-filled exhibition that raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts while highlighting the ups and downs of competitive golf.

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning triumphed 1 up over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in Hobe Sound, Florida, but the outcome never really mattered. Mickelson trash-talked, as did announcer Charles Barkley. 

Justin Thomas, the No. 4 player in the world, dished some dirt and offered some barbs while serving as an on-course reporter. Celebrities called in and offered challenge donations. Ultimately, after $10 million was pledged by the four players and WarnerMedia previous to the match, another $10 million was raised over the course of the afternoon via online and text donations and other pledges.

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“Phil said he was nervous, so imagine us,” stated Manning, the retired two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is a member at Augusta National. “To go behind the ropes and get in these guys’ world and in the arena with them was really an incredible experience.

“I was not comfortable the whole time, but raising $20 million as people are going through such tough times, it’s something I’ll always remember and cherish.”

Things got off to a slow start due to the poor weather, which delayed the start by some 50 minutes.

But once the players got going, there was some excellent banter and good golf. All of the players were outfitted with custom golf carts, with cameras focused on their faces and microphones available for questions from the announcers.

Mickelson hit a few wayward shots to start, but the 44-time PGA Tour winner settled down and served as a cheerleader for Brady, trying to keep him in the game. The duo rallied on the back nine as the format shifted to modified alternate shot. Mickelson bombed a tee shot onto the short par-4 11th green, and Brady holed the eagle putt to bring them to 2 down.

“This is where it changes,” Mickelson said. He missed a good opportunity to bring the match close at the 13th but got within one hole when Manning missed a short par putt at the 14th. They could get no closer as the players proceeded in heavy rain and near darkness.

After Woods hit his tee shot in the fairway at the 18th, with Manning knocking the approach to the front of the green, all that was left was a two-putt par for the victory.

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Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning favored to defeat Phill Mickelson, Tom Brady in charity golf

The match is set, the trash-talking has started and the odds are on the board for a star-studded, 18-hole event to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts on Memorial Day weekend.

Caesars Sportsbook on Monday opened Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning as the favorites over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in “The Match: Champions for Charity” showdown May 24 at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe South, Florida.

Woods and Manning were installed as -175 favorites, with Brady and Mickelson at +150 at Caesars.

The event will be televised on TNT and TBS at 3 p.m. ET. The four members will make a combined $10 million donation to relief efforts. The 18-hole match will consist of nine holes of best ball and nine holes of modified alternate shot.

Two years ago, Mickelson bested Woods in a head-to-head, made-for-TV event in Las Vegas.

Last week, in an online promotion for this year’s challenge, Mickelson ribbed Woods by showing off the trophy he conquered by defeating him in 2018. “Tiger doesn’t strike us as somebody who’s really going to get up for an event like this, for lack of a better phrase,” said Jeff Davis, director of risk for Caesars Sportsbook. “Phil kind of eats this stuff up.”

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The early betting action on the match had been even at the DraftKings sportsbook, where 60% of the bets were on Woods and Manning, while 55% of the money wagered was on the underdogs, Mickelson and Brady.

Jeff Sherman, a golf odds specialist at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, researched Brady’s and Manning’s golf matches online, watching old pro-am events they played in and videos of their swings.

“From what I could find, I believe Brady’s like an 8 handicap, and Manning’s like a 6 handicap,” Sherman said. “So, slight edge to Manning there.”

Sherman compared the handle on the 2018 event between Mickelson and Woods to how much is wagered on a “good NBA game,” but said he expects this year’s version of “The Match” to attract potentially four times as much betting interest.

“For a standout event like that, it was less than I anticipated,” Sherman stated “I think one has the potential to do three or four times that, just based on this being by itself on a Sunday, when people can get involved. “There’s definitely going to be more involvement on this one, because it’s not up on many things.”

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Patriots trade Rob Gronkowski to buccaneers for fourth round pick

The New England Patriots agreed to trade tight end Rob Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, the Buccaneers reported. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer stated that Gronkowski passed his physical with the team.

“Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season,” Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “He will honor his current contract at this time.”

Reports suggest that Gronkowski, who has one year left on his contract that will pay him $10 million this year, has been getting his body ready for a return to football, and that reuniting with Tom Brady was important.

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Gronkowski, 30, retired ahead of the 2019 campaign after eight seasons with New England. During his Patriots career, he was a three-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro selection. He caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 scores, establishing himself in his prime as the game’s best tight end and arguably the most talented player at the position in NFL history. 

Injuries were an issue for Gronk, however, as he missed 29 matches in his career and 13 games in his last three seasons alone. After posting double-digit touchdown receptions in five of his first six seasons, he had a total of 14 touchdowns between the 2016-18 campaigns. 

And now Gronkowski will be playing football with Brady in Tampa Bay next season. It’s great news for Bucs fans and more tough news for Patriots fans, who have seen the most important player in franchise history sign with a new team this offseason and one of the most popular figures in team history come out of retirement to join him.

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Buccaneers’ Chris Godwin gives No. 12 to Tom Brady

Chris Godwin wore No. 12 in high school, college and his first campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His social media accounts, and ones owned by his girlfriend, reference the No. 12.

But, Tom Brady wears No. 12. And he will again.

According to the Buccaneers’ site, Godwin offered No. 12 to his new teammate Brady, who “gratefully accepted.” Godwin will wear No. 14.

Let the Brady jersey sales start, at least whenever the Bucs unveil their new uniforms.

Brady wore No. 10 in college at Michigan, but became well known for No. 12 while winning six Super Bowls with the Patriots. His nutrition company is called TB12. It’s a big deal for him.

It’s also a big deal for Godwin. Most players do get attached to their numbers. Godwin let it be known in an interview with “Bucs Beat” on the team’s Twitter page earlier this month that he wanted the number but would defer to Brady.

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“Obviously if he doesn’t want it, if he doesn’t make a big deal about it, I’m definitely going to keep it,” Godwin said. “We’ll see how that goes. Out of respect for what he’s done, what he’s accomplished and just the career he’s built for himself, you have to lean into that respect. We’ll see how that goes.”

In the end, Godwin wants the ball, and he endeared himself to his new quarterback.

There was no word if Brady gave Godwin anything for the number change, though that’s typical when a veteran asks for a younger player to change numbers.

In the story on the Buccaneers’ site, it says Godwin told team reporter Casey Phillips “there was no transaction between him and Brady as part of the switch,” though it’s unclear if that information was from the Godwin interview weeks ago before the two players had talked about the number.

Either way, Godwin wasn’t going to battle his new quarterback over a jersey number. Brady gets No. 12 and if Godwin gets plenty of catches, everyone will be happy.

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Tom Brady says goodbye to Patriots on social media

In a move that sent shockwaves around the NFL on Tuesday morning, longtime New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced across social media that he is “continuing elsewhere,” signaling an exit from the Patriots in 2020 free agency.

Brady entered the league as a sixth round pick, No. 199 overall, in the 2000 NFL Draft. Since receiving a starting opportunity in place of the injured Drew Bledsoe, he has gone on to conquer six Super Bowls and was named MVP in four of those appearances.

He has completed 6,377 of 9,988 passes for 74,571 yards, 541 touchdowns and 179 interceptions. The 42-year-old has been named an NFL MVP three times and was selected to 14 Pro Bowls. His claim as the NFL’s best ever quarterback is strong.

It will be weird to see Brady wearing a new uniform after 20 campaigns. It will be interesting to see how the legacies of head coach Bill Belichick and Brady divert, and potentially grow, in the coming years.

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NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said that the Buccaneers and Chargers had already extended an offer worth upwards of $30 million. According to Tom Curran of NBC Boston, an announcement on where Brady will be playing next is not awaited to come Tuesday. The Colts are not expected to get involved, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder. They are satisfied in their pursuit of Philip Rivers. The Las Vegas Raiders might also be enticed.

New England is left with Cody Kessler and Jarrett Stidham on the roster at quarterback. Stidham, a fourth round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, would be the most viable option to start in Brady’s absence. However, he only attempted four passes last season and one ended in an interception.

The Patriots hold the No. 23 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft and could choose to pursue an alternative with that choice.

The other possibility is that the franchise pursues another veteran quarterback either in free agency or via trade. Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater and Andy Dalton are some of the players expected to be available through those forms. 

Despite his absence on the roster, the Patriots will carry over $13.5 million in dead salary cap space due to a non-extension extension that he signed in August of 2019, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.

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Tom Brady open to new home in free agency

Tom Brady is not likely to return to the New England Patriots, the team he has led to six Super Bowl titles over 20 seasons, according to multiple reports.

The 42-year-old can leave the Patriots as a free agent in the coming months, and ESPN and The Athletic both stated that Brady will not return to New England.

Under NFL rules Brady would not be able to enter talks with other teams until 16 March. According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, Brady is also open to talking to the Patriots about extending his career in New England, but that does not ensure he will stay.

One reason why the Patriots and Brady haven’t had any contract discussions is the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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Once that is known, Belichick and Brady can discuss everything, including how a contract could be structured.

“Without knowing about the CBA, that talk can’t happen,” one source told Schefter.

Brady endured a disappointing season by his high standards in 2019.

He threw for 24 touchdowns, his lowest total in a full campaign since 2006, although he was hampered by a lack of support from his receiving corps and offensive line. The Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

Brady, who turns 43 in August, is a three-time NFL MVP and four-time Super Bowl MVP. He has led the league in touchdown passes four times and is one of only four quarterbacks to throw for more than 70,000 yards.

A number of teams have been linked with Brady, if he does leave the Patriots. They include the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina Panthers.

He has said in the past that he is capable of playing well into his mid-40s and beyond.

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