Tom Brady will miss more than 10 days in what the Bucs are calling a pre-planned absence

Placeholder while article actions load

NFL quarterbacks don’t usually miss an extended period of time shortly before the season begins, but Tom Brady is no ordinary quarterback.

The 45-year-old is set to be absent from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for at least 10 days, the team revealed Thursday. Bucs officials downplayed the development as nothing for fans to worry about, expressing confidence that Brady will be ready to lead Tampa Bay in their Week 1 game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11.

“Not many 45-year-olds play at an MVP level with seven Super Bowls in their back pocket,” General Manager Jason Licht said with a smile on Tampa radio station WDAE, “so we’re not worried about that at all.”

Licht added that Brady’s previously unannounced absence, which began Thursday, had been in the works.

“He’s going to deal with some personal stuff,” coach Todd Bowles told reporters after practice Thursday. “It’s something we talked about before training camp started.”

Bowles indicated that Brady, who briefly retired after last season before changing his mind and returning to the Bucs, was taking advantage of the fact that he would be held out of Tampa Bay’s first two preseason games. The team hosts the Miami Dolphins on Saturday before traveling to Tennessee to play the Titans on August 20. Tampa Bay’s preseason slate concludes with a road game at the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 27, before facing Dallas on “Sunday Night Football” to begin the regular season.

Bowles said Brady would return after the Titans game. In the meantime, the coach said, his absence helps the team’s backup quarterbacks — Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask and Ryan Griffin — get valuable practice reps.

“We trust him,” Bowles, in his first season as the Bucs’ head coach, said of Brady. “We talked about it.”

Asked if the quarterback’s issue was health-related, Bowles said, “It’s a personal issue. That’s all I can tell you.”

Bowes said he had a “pretty high” level of confidence that Brady will be under center in Week 1.

Brady’s level of commitment to the Bucs has been questioned in some quarters following the revelation that he and his agent, despite his contractual status with Tampa Bay, had impermissible contact with the Dolphins during and after the 2021 season. This news came from an NFL investigation that resulted in punishment for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and his team for violating the league’s policies related to the integrity of the game.

That engagement with Miami, which the NFL also revealed included impermissible communications in 2019 and 2020 when Brady was a member of the New England Patriots, continued to loom over the Bucs this week as they spend several days practicing against the Dolphins ahead of their pre-season game.

Brady has not spoken to the media about the NFL investigation. After he and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa were seen in conversation Wednesday on the practice field, the Miami starter told reporters he picked the brain of the 22-year NFL veteran for tips on how to maintain such amazing longevity .

As for his feelings on the Dolphins’ yearlong pursuit of Brady — which may not be entirely over — Tagovailoa said Wednesday: “I’m still here. To me, it’s all noise at this point.”

Bowles, when asked Thursday if he was concerned that Brady’s absence was related to a possibly wavering commitment to the Bucs, replied: “Per our conversation, I’m not concerned, no.”

“Obviously we would let him do what he has to do,” Licht said by Brady in his radio appearance. “He’s focused as always. He’ll come back even more focused. That’s the least of our worries. … Business as usual here.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.