Tom Brady was part of a virtual press conference on Thursday, his first time speaking to the media publicly since his introductory teleconference back in March.
With the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacting the 2020 offseason and preparations for the upcoming season, there have been far more hurdles for Brady than just the struggles of joining a new franchise for the first time in his 20-year career.
See the full transcript from Brady’s press conference below.
On what he’s had to overcome so far in Tampa
“I think every football season is a big challenge in one way or another and obviously for me, changing teams after a long period of time, giving me an opportunity to really look at myself and what I want to continue to achieve in my career and think that I can bring to a team. It’s been different having the opportunity over this time to move and then, for example, to study my playbook. I really haven’t had to do that in 19 years so you forget, man that’s really tough. All the different terminologies and you’re going back a very long time in my career to really have to put the mental energy in like I did. I have to work at it pretty hard physically still, I put a lot of time and energy into making sure I’m feeling good in order to perform at my best but mentally, I think that’s been the thing that obviously has it’s challenges. And I think that you couple that with the coronavirus situation and it became even more difficult. I think that conversations that we probably would have had in April, we’re having now and I think that part is a bit challenging too. The only thing that you can do is adjust to the situation, adapt the best that you can, put as much time and energy now as we can into it and I think that the reality is that the clock is ticking on everybody. We’re going to have to work as hard as we can and not waste any minutes of any day getting used to one another and embrace the challenge and see it as a challenge to see what we can become.”
On him raising the accountability of the players around him
“At first I really enjoyed being with Jason [Licht] and getting to know Bruce [Arians] and getting to know Byron [Leftwich] and Clyde [Christensen] and a bunch of guys that I competed against either as a player or with them as coaches. So it’s been kind of fun in that way, to see the different approaches to the game and so forth. Everybody sees football a little bit different. It’s about how we all see it together and how we can all be on the same page as we move forward. Ultimately my goal is to go out there and do what I’ve always done, be the best that I can possibly be for the team. I’ve tried to catch passes in my career, I’ve tried to make blocks, I’ve had a few runs but I’m not very good at any of those. I think my best ability is reading defenses and throwing the football. So I think all of us being on the same page, which is something we’re really working hard at, to get on the same page after not having many opportunities. We haven’t really had a full-speed practice yet at all so I’m anxious to get that started so that I can start learning in a more typical way. It certainly has its challenges.”
On players buying in
“I think again, all of those things are to be determined for all of us as we move forward and the type of buy in and really what you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. You’ve got to work hard every day to bring your best emotional energy, to be at your best physically, to learn to know what to do to be your best. The guys that I’ve been around, it’s been just that. Guys are working really hard to get to know one another and again, we haven’t had any practices yet so it’s hard to… throwing the ball around at a workout or something like that is a lot different than real football and being in the huddle and getting to know people in that way and knowing who you can really count on. But I think you just have to do what you can with what we’re all dealing with, trying to make the most of it, trying to understand that the clock is ticking on all of us and we’ve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.”
On his level of concern about getting the season underway and completed
“I think everyone’s just learning every single day a little bit more so you just take these things one day at a time and the more you learn, I think we’ve all learned a lot over the last five or six months. I’ve always felt like taking care of my body was really important, not just for football because that’s been my job but that’s my quality of life in the future. I think you’re either under the belief that what you put into your body has an effect or what you believe doesn’t have an effect. I think for me, in my experience, the better that I’ve treated my body, the better I’ve eaten, the more hydrated I am, the better playability treatments I get, the more sophisticated my workouts have been, the better my body’s performed. For me it’s been, when something works you do more of it. When you do more of it you see better results. So I’ve really tried to continue that throughout my career and build year after year and it’s given me a great opportunity to be at this age still playing the game that I love. Because mentally I feel like I have all the ability, I’ve seen every defense, there’s no play I haven’t run, there’s no defense I haven’t seen but it’s just physically, are you still able to execute at your job? I’m very fortunate to still be able to do that and I know that it’s a contact sport and there’s some things that are out of your control but that’s a pretty good lesson for life too. You don’t have everything in control either and the best thing you can do is to prepare your body and prepare your mind for whatever comes at it and you have to always be able to adjust and adapt as best as possible.”
On his impressions of the talent around him and how Rob Gronkowski looks
“We’ve had different times to workout together. It’s been good here being in the building and actually being directed by the coaches of ‘This is what we’re gonna work on and these are the plays we’re installing.’ So you have a better idea of how things are gonna come together on the offense. The guys have worked really hard, it’s been fun getting to know the receiver position, Gronk’s the only guy that I’ve played with so I know what he can do. It’s really up to everybody to go out there and earn their role, I’ve always believed that you get out of it what you put into it. A lot of guys are working really hard and they’re working hard because it’s their career, they want to do a great job regardless of who the quarterback was, that’s important for all of these guys. Football matters to Mike [Evans] and to Chris [Godwin], I’ve loved being around those two guys who are not only great players, but great leaders. Cam [Brate] and O.J. [Howard] who have been here have been really great along with the other tight ends in the group, Dare [Ogunbowale], [Ronald Jones,] I met [LeSean McCoy] the other day here on the practice field. It’s a good, hardworking group, really smart players, again it’s gonna be up to all of us to come together and see how we can make it all work.”
On what it’s like moving to a new place and when Tampa will feel like home for him in Arians’ offense
“Part of what I said earlier, you’re trying to learn a bunch of different things and you’re trying to not only learn an offense but learn your way to work or learn guys’ names. I didn’t even know where the quarterback’s room was or where the full team’s meeting room was so you get in here and your brain’s trying to figure out a lot of different things. Everyday that goes by it’s getting a little better, I’m glad we’re not playing a game this Sunday, I’m glad we have time to prepare. It’s been a good week or so being in here and I think everyday I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunity to improve myself so that I can be the best quarterback for this team that this team really deserves. These guys are working really hard and I want to come in here and do a great job for them.”