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A terrific story about how the Bucs signed Tom Brady

He was in New York City, during the height of COVID-19, but they managed to get his name on a contract.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) shovels a pass while attending training camp Monday at AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) shovels a pass while attending training camp Monday at AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jul. 29
Updated Jul. 29

TAMPA — Getting Tom Brady to agree to leave the Patriots after 20 seasons and join the Bucs may have been the easy part.

Getting his signature on a contract when he was in New York City during the height of COVID-19 in March of 2020?

That took a lot of creativity and a well-placed brother-in-law.

Mike Greenberg, the Bucs’ vice president of football administration, told the story during the second session of The Buccaneers’ Women’s Summit for Careers in Football.

Brady had agreed to terms on a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs after considering several teams.

But no contract can be executed until that player passes a physical for the team and signs on the dotted line.

“Last year during free agency, it was really right around the same time COVID started to ramp up. First week of March of last year. Even at our facility, there was only a few of us that were still remaining in the building,” Greenberg explained. “Everyone started to work from home. Obviously a challenging time for everybody.

“Free agency opens up, and normally how it works is you agree to a deal and the player comes in the next day, takes a physical and signs the deal. The problem is that travel restrictions wouldn’t allow that to happen for us. So Tom was actually in New York City at the time and we were just thinking he’s in an apartment in New York City, there’s no way he’s got a printer, a scanner, and it’s not like Tom Brady can walk down to Kinko’s, sign a contract, print it out without everybody noticing and lining up in the street.”

Fortunately, Greenberg’s brother-in-law, Jake Gellerman, lived in New York City. He had interned with the Bucs public relations department and had also worked in the NFL office. (He’s now with NBC).

You can always count on family, right?

“So I was sitting there thinking, what can we do, and I happened to call my brother-in-law who is 26 and lives in New York Cit,y and I said, ‘Hey, I just need a small favor from you. Just a little tiny favor,’” Greenberg said. “‘I need you to print out this contract, and I need you to go to someone’s apartment and sign it. His name is Tom.’ And he goes, ‘just ask for Tom?’ And I go, ‘It’s Tom Brady. I need you to go to his apartment, and just walk him through the contract and have him sign it.’

“So my brother-in-law went to his apartment ... and had him sign it and sent it back. So that is the only contract he has done — ever. He worked at the league office for a little bit. He has done one contract and it was Tom Brady’s, and so he was able to get it signed and executed and sent to us so we could move forward.”

Brady passed the physical performed by an independent doctor in New York City that was approved by the Bucs and the NFL.

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