Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is rumored to have played a role in the team adding troubled, yet talented wide receiver Antonio Brown to the roster on Friday night. Brady played with Brown in New England for just one game last year and saw the seven-time Pro Bowler catch four passes for 56 yards and one touchdown in a victory over Miami.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians denied that Brady was leading the charge to sign Brown, and that it is something general manager Jason Licht actually decided to do after seeing Tampa Bay’s offense struggle in a 20-19 loss at Chicago without Chris Godwin and with a hobbling Mike Evans and Scotty Miller.
Brady was asked about the addition of Brown to a crowded receiver room in Tampa Bay, but dodged that question on the post-game conference call following a 45-20 win at Las Vegas that improved Tampa Bay’s record to 5-2. Then he was asked about Brown’s mental state of mind and didn’t bite.
“I’m not getting into personal conversations that we’ve had together,” Brady said. So the guys we have are amazing players and teammates – Mike [Evans], Chris [Godwin], Scotty [Miller], Tyler [Johnson], who caught a touchdown today, JWatt (Justin Watson), Cyril [Grayson], Mick (Jaydon Mickens), and the tight ends, Huddy (Tanner Hudson), Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), and Cam [Brate], obviously. They’re all doing a great job. We miss O.J. out there. We have a great group, and we’re all expected to go out there every day and help the team win, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win football games. We’re trying to do a job.”
After Brady ducked two questions about Antonio Brown, PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds asked him a more pointed and direct question.
“Tom, you’ve played with Antonio Brown,” Reynolds said. “How much influence did you have in him coming here and how would you describe Antonio as a player, and also as a person? He’s had some disturbing allegations against him.”
“Ah, you had a lot of questions in there,” Brady responded. “Which one would you like me to answer?”
“All of them,” Reynolds said. “If you’ll answer one, how would you describe him as a player and a person.”
“Well, he’s a tremendous football player,” Brady replied. “I played with him for a brief period of time and I’m looking forward to working with him again and seeing what kind of role he can come in and [play]. He’s a very hard-working guy. Again, we’re all going to go out there on the practice field and do the best we can do, and we’re going to see how it all fits together. There is a lot of hard work ahead. None of it magically happens. We realize that early in the season when we put a lot of new people together.
“We’ve got to figure a lot of things out in a short period of time. We’re fighting against a lot of continuity from a lot of other teams and a lot of other coaches. Bruce has had tremendous patience with me, watching me grow in the offense. I totally appreciate that and respect that and I feel like I am getting to a more comfortable place. He’s been a great mentor to me in the short period of time. Byron and I are growing in our communication and that’s what it takes for a good football team to work it every day and try to be better every week. And that’s what we’re going to try to be.”
Brady has the ability to filibuster like a United States senator, and didn’t answer the part of the question about Brown, the person. But obviously he’s excited about Brown the player and is looking forward to having another elite weapon to throw the ball to.