TAMPA — This is all new for Tom Brady. He jokes that he doesn’t yet know his way to Raymond James Stadium and will need a map to find the meeting rooms at the Bucs’ training facility.
But the former Patriots quarterback is determined to make his next NFL chapter a successful one.
In an essay for The Players’ Tribune, Brady writes that he knows he can help make the Bucs winners but says it’s the process of doing so he’s looking forward to most.
“I have things to prove to myself,” Brady writes. “The only way is through. If I don’t go for it, I’ll never know what I could have accomplished. Wanting to do something is different from actually doing it. If I stood at the bottom of a mountain and told myself I could scale the highest peak but then didn’t do anything about it, what’s the point of that?
“I’m trying to do things that have never been done in my sport,” continues Brady, who will enter the season at age 43 with six Super Bowl rings. “That’s actually fun for me, too, because I know I can do them. When a team gives you the opportunity to do those things, well … if not with them, then who?”
Brady writes that he’s embracing a much different role than the one he had the last time everything was this new, when he was a rookie with the Patriots 20 years ago. He’s looking forward to playing the role of mentor with the Bucs.
“Here’s another great thing that happens as you get older — you want to see other players succeed,” he writes. “A lot or veteran players were mentors to me during my years as a Patriot. They were there for me when I signed a second contract. They were there for Super Bowl wins, and when I got married. They saw me develop, and grow, and eventually start a family.
“Along with the opportunity to win championships, the support of older teammates is an amazing part of playing for a team. Doing whatever I can to help younger players evolve as people and players means a lot to me. I’ve learned so much during my 20 years in New England — and I want to bring those things to a new team.”
Brady writes that he has received a warm welcome from Bucs players and coaches.
“They’ve welcomed me as one of their own," he writes. "They want to listen to what I have to say. I’m excited to be embraced fully for what I can bring to the Bucs. In turn, I’m ready to embrace fully a team that is confident in what I can do — and what I can bring — and is willing to go on the ride with me.
“It will be different — that goes with the territory,” he adds. “Different coaches. Different players. Different programs. ... It will be a learning curve, in the same way it was remembering that the Atlantic Ocean is always due east.”
Once he gets his bearings, Brady will learn, too, that the Gulf of Mexico is due west.
Reach Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.