Tom Brady arrived at something of a crossroads in his professional career.
The veteran quarterback, former Super Bowl MVP, and NFL MVP has achieved his dream of playing football at an extremely high level after celebrating his 45th birthday.
Brady is also a family man, a husband, and a father who nearly retired this offseason before deciding to come back for at least one more year. Brady is now set to rejoin the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early this week, according to head coach Todd Bowles. Bowles announced the news during a Sunday press conference. A league source said that Brady is set to return Monday.
Family time at heart of Tom Brady’s absence
Brady’s absence has been surrounded by plenty of questions, considering how unusual it is for a player, even one of his stature, to take time away from his team during training camp.
League sources indicated that Brady’s time away from the team included a trip to the Bahamas at an exclusive resort and primarily for family time with his wife, Gisele Bündchen. His commitment to family and having a personal life was at the heart of this hiatus from football, and there was no medical emergency, as speculated, or other reasons.
As important as football is to Brady, so is his family, and the Buccaneers have given him his space to be with them. Bowles emphasized that Brady not being with the team was planned and communicated. A league source said that Brady was definitely not expected to retire again and would fulfill his commitments to his coaches and teammates.
Bowles had previously indicated that Brady was returning after a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans as the QB was attending to “personal things.”
“I know exactly when Tom is coming back, and I’ve consistently said it would be sometime after the Titans game,” Bowles told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday. “Do I look worried? I’m not worried, so I don’t know why anyone else would be worried.”
The Buccaneers have previously said that Brady being away from the team was planned. They’ve also been somewhat circumspect about his status, wanting to respect his privacy.
Bowles, the point man for any Buccaneers questions during his daily press conferences, had said previously there was no set date for Brady’s return. That opened the door for more speculation about what’s going on with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
“We’ll see. We’ll talk about it next week,” Bowles said. “I’m not concerned about it right now. We’re trying to practice against Tennessee and play a game. I said sometime after Tennessee. There’s no definitive date for me. We’ll think on it. We’ll keep in touch and find out.”
Brady stays in the news with Raiders revelation
During a preseason when Brady was linked to tampering attempts to get him to join the Miami Dolphins, another revelation was disclosed by, of all people, UFC president Dana White.
White told ESPN during a UFC broadcast that he nearly arranged a deal for Brady to join the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, only for then-coach Jon Gruden to nix it.
White told the story at the behest of former Buccaneers and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. It was supposed to be a package deal. Of course, Gronkowski has retired. And Brady nearly retired only to rejoin the Buccaneers.
“I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders,” White said. “It was almost a done deal. And at the last minute, Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn’t want him and all hell broke loose, man. It was crazy.
“And Brady was already looking at houses. It wasn’t said yet that Gronk was going to be coming. So Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except Gruden blew the deal up.”
Gronkowski expressed gratitude that the Las Vegas situation didn’t come to fruition.
“I’m glad it did not go through,” Gronkowski said on the show. “It all worked out for the best, man. I’m glad we went to Tampa, man. It just worked out. I love that place.”