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Abundance of young quarterbacks caught Tom Brady’s eye in Week 1

The 44-year-old Bucs QB says he doesn’t remember this many first and second-year stars under center.
Since many of his peers have retired, it's no surprise Tom Brady suddenly finds himself in a league with rookie and second-year starting quarterbacks.
Since many of his peers have retired, it's no surprise Tom Brady suddenly finds himself in a league with rookie and second-year starting quarterbacks. [ \162016000147\ | Times ]
Published Sep. 14

TAMPA — Tom Brady got a chance to watch a lot of NFL football Sunday and came away with one prevailing thought: the quarterback position has gotten a lot younger than he remembers it.

“I don’t remember this many rookies playing,” Brady said on his Let’s Go! podcast Monday. “Even the second-year guys. Tua (Tagovailoa), (Justin) Herbert, (Joe) Burrow, Trevor Lawrence. (Justin) Fields played a little bit. Trey Lance played a little bit. Zach Wilson is playing. Mac Jones is playing. That’s a lot of young quarterbacks. Gone are the days of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning. You know, those are the guys I’m used to hearing about. ...

“I’ll be forgotten here soon. I’ll move on and they’ll be onto someone else but that’s just the way football goes, as does life.”

Of course, no one is likely to forget Brady, who engineered his 49th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime last Thursday to beat the Cowboys 31-29.

Brady said experience has taught him to relax in those late-game situations.

“It’s a pretty good feeling to have and I think a lot of it for me is experience, knowing I’ve been in that situation before and I’ve talked about it with my teammates,” Brady said. “We’re well prepared for it. It doesn’t ensure victory because believe me, I’ve been in those same situations and not come through. ...

“If I would think about more improbable things, I’d say the Super Bowl (2016 season) over Atlanta, down 28-3. That situation is a 99.9 percent chance we’re going to lose that game. This particular situation is very different than that. Once you have those really thrilling victories and you overcome those long odds, I really feel as an athlete you don’t ever feel like you’re out of it.”

Among the other highlights Monday:

On facing the Falcons in Week 2:

“We got a home game, that’s important. We’ve got a home division game, that’s more important. So I think us having a great week, practicing well, there’s a lot of things we need to refine, a lot of things we didn’t do very well the other night. We’ve got to improve those things. The football season is about improvement. You’ve got to identify the problems and you’ve got to solve them.

“(The Falcons) have a new scheme, a new coach, Arthur Smith. A new coordinator, Dean Pees. They have a lot of the guys we’re familiar with. (Quarterback) Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, who I love as a receiver. They drafted (Florida tight end) Kyle Pitts. Deion Jones on defense. (Cornerback) A.J. Terrell was a high pick last year. I feel like I know them pretty well but I got to know them better.”

On how Rob Gronkowski’s spirit is back:

Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter while center Ryan Jensen (66), left, and wide receiver Mike Evans (13), right, look during the season opener.
Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter while center Ryan Jensen (66), left, and wide receiver Mike Evans (13), right, look during the season opener. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

“When I see him play now, the real Rob Gronkowski is back. The spirit of him, which makes everyone love him as a person, as a teammate, as a player. That spirit he has in his eyes about his joy of life, his joy of football is back. And when I saw him play the other night, that’s his most authentic self. For someone who has watched him a long time, he had it and it faded away. He ended up retiring because he didn’t find the joy he had. And to see him regain it is one of the really great, satisfying things for me in pro sports.”

On how he’s grown to love boating:

“I got pretty seasick in my early 20s and I said, ‘Why the hell do people like boats? I’m never going to buy a boat.’ Of course, I moved to Florida and I rent my house from Derek (Jeter) and he’s got this boat lift and I was here one day in the state of Florida and I said, ‘I’ve got to get a boat.’ I ordered a boat. ...

“It’s actually one of the great things I love to do. Go out on the water, take my family out there. It’s very peaceful. Very serene ... I see there’s a lot more boating in my future considering I’m a Floridian.”

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