A reserved Tom Brady was short on details in his first news conference as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tuesday’s questions and answers session was held via telephone due to the coronavirus pandemic. Brady was asked multiple questions about his departure from the New England Patriots but spoke in positive generalities about the franchise that drafted him and employed him for 20 seasons.
Brady was asked for his reaction to Patriots owner Robert Kraft telling multiple outlets that ultimately it was the quarterbacks’ decision to leave New England and if Brady wanted to return, a deal could have been made.
“Again, I’m not responsible for how other people will say certain things,” Brady said. “I think Mr. Kraft has been a great influence on my life. I’m so grateful for two decades. I referenced that the other day. It’s been an amazing thing for my family, and I’m sure when I’m done playing, I’ll look back and have a chance to reevaluate my entire career. At the same time, I’m excited for this opportunity I have. I can only speak to how I feel, and I wrote about that in my social media the other day. This was getting to be a free agent and having the opportunity to join the Bucs was something that I was really excited about. And that’s why we’re at where we’re at.”
Brady was asked if he was disappointed the Patriots didn’t make a greater push to re-sign him after 20 years with the team.
“No, I have a great deal of respect — there’s nobody that’s been a bigger fan of the New England Patriots than me,” Brady said. “I have nothing but total respect and love. I’m so grateful to Mr. Kraft and the organization and Coach (Bill) Belichick and all of the coaches and obviously all of my teammates. It’s been a lot of days responding to a lot of incredible text messages from my teammates, my former teammates, from just a lot of the great people I’ve got to meet over the years. I have so many great relationships that will be maintained. That’s, I think, the greatest gift that football has brought me is the relationships that I’ve had with so many of the people I’ve worked with. It’ll be certainly different but at the same time, that’s the way life can be at times. What won’t be different is my approach to the game, my approach to what my roles and responsibilities are. I’m going to go out and do the best I can to put our team in a position to win.
Brady was asked point-blank what it would have taken to re-sign with the Patriots. Brady dodged the question.
“I don’t want to talk about the past, because that’s not relevant to what’s important in my future and what’s going on this offseason for me,” Brady said. “I have nothing but two decades of an incredible experience and learning from some of the best players and the best coaches and the ownership of the team. I think for all of us things in life can change and you’ve got to be able to adapt and evolve. With each of those changes become different opportunities to learn and grow. And that’s where I’m at.
“Any time you leave somewhere, it’s very emotional, and I’ve had my — the transition I’d say has been very emotional with a lot of guys that I’ve talked to that I’ve shared the field with because the relationships are what matter most to me. I’m going to be friends with my teammates and my former teammates and coaches for the rest of my life. That’s not going to leave just because I’m wearing a different jersey. But at the same time for me the new jersey I’m wearing, I’m prepared to give them every bit of commitment I’ve had my entire career to be the best I can be to help this team be the best it could be. I did say there’s not one person that makes a team. It’s every single person doing their job every day that’s committed and determined to be the best. I’m a very disciplined quarterback. I try to follow through on the things I’m committed to. I try to work every day to be the best I can be. That’s what I’m going to try to push my teammates to do. I’m just excited to get started.”
Brady certainly is saying all of the right things about his departure from the Patriots. Perhaps after he retires, he’ll reveal more about his decision to leave the franchise.