Tom Brady led the New England Patriots offense for almost two decades, but earlier this offseason decided to take his talents elsewhere: hitting free agency for the first time in his career, the now-43-year-old decided to leave the team with which he had won six Super Bowls to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Five months removed from the decision to embark on a new challenge in the NFC South, Brady is apparently still feeling good about it.
“When I added it up, Tampa seemed like it was a great opportunity. I am so happy with the decision I made. I made a decision to do something different,” he recently told NBC Sports’ Peter King. “It was a very thoughtful decision. It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. Really since the moment I got here they’ve embraced me. They’ve embraced me with the opportunity to go and lead the team — that’s a big responsibility for me.”
Brady joined the Buccaneers on a two-year contract worth $50 million in mid-March, and has just recently taken the practice field alongside his teammates for the first time. According to his talk with King, the future Hall of Famer is “happy” in his new surroundings, while also feeling in as good a shape as every despite entering his 21st season in pro football.
“I feel really good,” he said. “I think my arm is strong and is good and is as in-shape as it has ever been. I think every offense demands some different things and everybody has a different belief on how to move the ball downfield and score points. Again, being in one place and you have that familiarity, which is why I think continuity in the NFL is so important.
“When you look at Sean Payton and Drew Brees, they’re so on the same page with their belief of how to do that, it provides them with a lot of margin of error. In a really condensed format that we have, we’re really trying to get on the same page — myself, Byron [Leftwich], BA [Bruce Arians] — trying to really understand each other. They obviously know how I’ve done things; I’m trying to understand how they do things so that it can be as efficient as possible.”
The Patriots, meanwhile, are trying to find their new starting quarterback out of a camp competition consisting of second-year man Jarrett Stidham as well as veterans Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer. Through two days of padded practices, no clear favorite has emerged to take over Brady’s old job and lead New England into a new era.