PALM HARBOR — Tom Brady had no problem with his mobility Sunday.
The Bucs quarterback began his day in New York, spending time with his oldest son, Jack, before flying to South Florida to cheer Inter Miami and co-owner (and friend) David Beckham host the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer.
Finally, he jetted up to Tampa and drove his truck to Innisbrook Golf Resort for the Arians Family Foundation dinner and concert.
“It’s kind of the only thing that slows me down in life,” Brady said Sunday night of the left-knee surgery he had less than two months ago. “It’s something like that. I’m cool with it. It’s just part of what you deal with. Things come up and you deal with them the best way you can. The best opportunity to get better and improve, and I’m definitely feeling a lot better than I did six or seven weeks ago.
“You know, it’s rehab. None of that is fun, but I’m looking forward to getting back to real training and stuff, which is hopefully here pretty soon.”
It was about a year ago that Brady, having just signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs, organized workouts at Berkeley Prep in Tampa for about a dozen of his new teammates and one familiar old one, tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk arrived Sunday night, just ahead of Brady, and was joined by outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and members of Bruce Arians’ coaching staff. A golf tournament is scheduled for Monday, weather permitting.
The Bucs have voted not to participate in any voluntary in-person workouts at the team facility because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus, according to a statement released on the NFL Players Association website.
Of course Brady and his teammates didn’t follow the NFLPA’s advice to stop their impromptu workouts a year ago.
It’s clear that the 43-year-old seven-time Super Bowl winner wants to resume throwing as soon as he’s done rehabbing his knee and cleared to begin football activities. Arians has said that likely will be in June. Brady didn’t disagree.
“We’ll just take it and see how we go, and see how things play out over the course of the offseason,” he said. “A lot of things come up and change over the course of the offseason, and we have a lot of hard-working guys. Guys will be anxious to get together and get to work.
“As soon as I’m ready to go out and throw, that will be really important for me. That’s always been a big part of my preparation, actually doing what my job is. I try to teach the younger players, it doesn’t matter going in and doing pullups and, you know, doing cross-fit games and scaling walls. What matters is being a good football player. That’s doing your job and whatever that entails for you. Whether that’s at receiver, running back, linebacker — do your job. That’s the best way to ultimately prepare to be a great player.”
Brady tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee in the 2008 season opener against the Chiefs.
Clearly this injury is not as serious. Besides, Brady’s learning curve won’t be nearly as big as it was a year ago.
It took until Week 14, but Brady finally became comfortable in Arians’ offense. After a 7-5 start, the Bucs won their last eight games, including four in the postseason, culminating with a 31-9 victory over the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium.
Brady finished the regular season with 4,633 yards passing, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He added 10 TD passes and three interceptions in the playoffs.
Brady has a better feel for his teammates as all 22 starters from the Super Bowl victory return. The list includes Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette and receiver Chris Godwin, who received the team’s franchise tag.
“What’s it say? I think everyone is excited,” Brady said of the club’s ability to keep the band together. “You know eight weeks ago, we just finished. So it feels like we’re still a lot closer to the end of last season than we are to the beginning of the next one. But at the same time there’s always an itch to get started and get preparing. A lot of football players like staying in shape year-round and getting together.
“B.A. (Arians) had some amazing points he gave us all year ... our commitment to one another and discipline and following through with a lot of things we had to do over the course of last season. I’m sure things will be a lot different this season. Every year is very different. Every year has different challenges. You know, we’ll see what we can make of it.”
Sunday’s event at Innisbrook was the first gathering of some Bucs players and coaches since the Super Bowl boat parade in Tampa in February. The Lombardi Trophy, which an “avocado-tequila” intoxicated Brady tossed across the Hillsborough River, was prominently displayed at Sunday’s event.
“I feel pretty good, and I push myself pretty hard. I don’t know if I can go this week, but we’ll see how things play out,” Brady said smiling.
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