Tom Brady has said stepping away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 11 days during preseason to attend to “personal matters” was an easy decision.
The quarterback was asked about his absence for the first time on Saturday. While he did not give a reason for his decision, he said he “feels good” after returning.
“It’s all personal,” he said. “Everyone’s got different situations they’re dealing with. We all have really unique challenges to our life. I’m 45 years old, man. There’s a lot of shit going on. Just gotta try to figure out life the best you can. It’s a continuous process.”
The Buccaneers have said that Brady’s absence had been pre-arranged and the team was supportive. Last week, UFC president Dana White said that Brady had been close to signing for the Las Vegas Raiders instead of Tampa in 2020. And earlier this month the NFL fined the Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, $1.5m for “impermissible communication” with Brady and his agent, Don Yee (neither Brady and Yee were disciplined). On Saturday, Brady said he was happy with his current team.
“I think since I came to this organization, it’s been amazing – it’s just been an amazing experience for me to come to this place and be as supported as I have for a long period of time,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion said. “I read all these stories about all these different places I was supposed to go or could have gone. And I was like, ‘I only was gonna go to one place, which was here.’ I think this whole organization knows that.”
Brady has had short absences during preseason in the past, but this is the first time in his long career he has taken significant time off during training camp or preseason. He played one series during the Bucs’ victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday and looked sharp, completing six of his eight passing attempts for 44 yards.
“It was smooth,” said running back Rachaad White. “Tom’s Tom. He’s our leader. He’s everything we want. He’s our captain. It was just a great feeling to have him back out there. He’s iconic.”
Brady led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns last season but will be without Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen for a large part of 2022 due to a knee injury. The Bucs open their regular-season campaign against the Dallas Cowboys on 11 September.