TAMPA — With the NFL just now reopening its team facilities and most offseason exercises being done virtually because of COVID-19, the Bucs never truly were able to show off new quarterback Tom Brady in the team’s newly designed uniforms.
When Brady signed with the Bucs in March, renderings came out of Brady in the now-departed digital digit uniforms, but those were all just transposed over a Patriots uniform.
In fact, the first sign of Brady in pewter was when the Tamp Bay Times found him a month ago conducting his own workout with teammates at Berkeley Prep; he wore a Bucs helmet and an orange quarterback practice jersey.
The wait was over Tuesday, when the team unveiled Brady the Buc, releasing their first photos of their biggest signing in his new uniform.
Seeing Brady in an actual Tampa Bay uniform helped reality sink in a little deeper for some fans.
Brian Janek, a seasonal employee of game-day operations at Raymond James Stadium, knew the release was going to be “huge.” The NFL Twitter account, after all, was retweeting the Bucs on Monday, teasing the Brady photoshoot reveal.
“It’s nice just to see Brady in action shots, natural and not like digital pictures or anything else superimposed,” said Janek, 33.
He was on Twitter when the photos were released and called it “sweet justice” after spending nearly three months looking at Brady in a Patriots uniform every time a Bucs-related story popped up involving the quarterback.
Janek, a St. Petersburg native, can’t wait to see Brady out on the field at Raymond James. When the season begins, he plans to order a red or pewter Brady jersey, too.
A.J. Crisp, meanwhile, thought Brady “looked right” in his red and pewter debut.
“You think back to when other NFL legends changed teams near the end of their career — for example, Emmitt Smith with the Cardinals or Reggie White with the Panthers — and it just didn’t feel right,” said Crisp, 33.
“But Brady in Bucs gear looks like a natural match.”
Like Janek, Crisp is holding out on ordering his white Brady jersey until that Week 1 date at the Superdome in New Orleans gets closer.
The Bucs fan out of Cleburne, Texas, has stayed cautiously optimistic about the season. But recent coronavirus diagnoses with Ezekiel Elliott in addition to several other Cowboys and Texans players has Crisp “a little worried that the 2020 season might be in jeopardy.”