Tom Brady tunes out Super Bowl stakes, retirement questions

Here’s Drew Brees’ advice for Tom Brady on going from NFL QB to broadcaster

Drew Brees joined Andy Nesbitt on Sports Seriously and shared what advice he’d give for Tom Brady transitioning from the field to the booth.

USA TODAY

TAMPA, Fla. – He knows. You know. We know.

There’s an obvious driving reason why Tom Brady was out on the field in sweltering heat on Monday with teammates half his age, sweating the small stuff (pun intended).

After a 40-day retirement, the mission is on again. Maybe eight rings will be enough, maybe not. As it stands now, seven is not completion.

This is clearly how winners like Brady think. Something about burning desire, intense competition and passionate pleasure. Just don’t think the walking icon is going to hop on a soap box and blare his bottom-line intentions from a megaphone. He may be the G.O.A.T., but it is not his style to channel his (possible) inner Muhammad Ali for public consumption.

Instead, despite the fact that he mentioned something about “unfinished business” when he came back from his hiatus, Brady was so careful not to engage the Super Bowl-or-bust narrative when he held his first media session of training camp.

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During a crisp, 7 ½-minute exchange, TB12 (maybe tapping his inner Bill Belichick) gave the impression that he might be jinxed if he fashioned this as a Super Bowl crusade.

“We’re going to just do the best that we can do,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of work between now – it’s August 1st. There’s a lot of time. Nobody knows what the team is going to look like. You think you have a center (in All-Pro Ryan Jensen) and then he gets injured, so the team’s different in one day. So, it’s a long time between now and the first game.”

Each time, someone tried to go deep into January – such as with the tie-in to aging vets Julio Jones and Kyle Rudolph recently signing on with hopes of finally winning a ring — Brady threw it back.

“Again, it’s August 1st,” he said. “Obviously, today is today. That’s way down the road. Just try to get as best, be prepared for today and deal with tomorrow tomorrow.”

This take-nothing-for-granted mindset, which we’ve heard before, says much about why Brady is the greatest Super Bowl champion ever. It must annoy him to get so many questions about the NFL-distant future.

OK, so let’s check out the past. Did the manner in which last season ended – Brady led a huge comeback to tie the Los Angeles Rams late in the fourth quarter of an NFC divisional playoff game but lost to the eventual champs on a last-minute field goal drive – fuel his decision to unretire?

“I don’t know,” he maintained. “Seems like forever ago.”

Seems like the Bucs’ last defeat, which extinguished hopes for a repeat, was no way for Brady to go out.

Someone asked about the injuries that ravaged the Bucs last season. Brady didn’t want to hear it.

“I don’t think there’s any excuses, you know?” he said. “You either get the job done or you don’t. There’s only one team that’s really happy at the end of the year. It’s the team that wins. So, you’ve got to come out the next year and do everything you can to put yourself in position.”

That’s about as far as Brady would go toward the big-picture goal. He turns 45 on Wednesday, but his demeanor isn’t so much a matter of advanced NFL wisdom. He has operated with a stay-in-the-moment mindset for some time. Monday was the first day in pads. He said it was “important” because “it’s the only day we have.”

He added, again, “We’ll deal with tomorrow tomorrow.”

The Bucs have their share of questions. The interior line in front of Brady is being rebuilt. Jensen, the leader and enforcer, suffered a significant left knee injury that will sideline him for months, if not the entire season. That leaves unproven, second-year pro Robert Hainsey with the first crack to win the job. And he’ll play behind two new guards, too, after Ali Marpet’s retirement and Alex Cappa’s free agency departure. The Bucs also need to beef up at the skill positions, which includes covering for the retirement of Rob Gronkowski and shoring up a receiving corps that is expected to start the season with Chris Godwin, rehabbing from a torn ACL.

Of course, there were encouraging signs on the practice field. A few minutes after Scotty Miller fired up the crowd by hauling in a deep Brady pass with a diving catch, a bigger roar came when Mike Evans muscled over a defender to convert Brady’s tight throw into a would-be 60-yard TD.

On the next snap, though, Devin White undercut a pass to Rudolph for an interception.

The message from Brady after practice, though, seemed rather consistent. It came with a body language and tone that seemed to suggest he is locked in, that the intensity is stoked. Like usual. For whatever that’s worth now and in the coming months.

After all, the entire NFL universe knows why he’s back.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.

The post Tom Brady tunes out Super Bowl stakes, retirement questions appeared first on My Blog.

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