TAMPA — Tom Brady was busy trying to erase a two-touchdown deficit to the New York Jets when receiver Antonio Brown became upset on the sideline, stripped off his jersey and left the game in the third quarter Sunday.
“I didn’t understand kind of what was happening until after the game. I didn’t understand what had transpired,” Brady said on his Let’s Go! podcast Monday. “I saw after the game that Mike (Evans) was trying to talk to Antonio and so was O.J. (Howard). Bruce (Arians) was also. Again, it was just a very difficult situation for everyone involved.”
Brady, who played one game with Brown in New England, was influential in the Bucs signing the troubled receiver following his eight-game suspension in 2020. The Bucs won Super Bowl 55 and Brown caught one of Brady’s three touchdown passes against the Chiefs.
Without being specific, Brady seemed to acknowledge Brown was dealing with some things away from football.
“I’ve known Antonio for a couple years now, pretty closely,” Brady said. “We’ve obviously been teammates and I would just say I love him, I care about him and I have a lot of compassion and a lot of empathy for the things that are happening in his life. It’s a lot of challenges we all face from time to time. The thing is to have a support system outside of football.
“We give everything we can on the field but we also have outside lives, too. And I’m going to do everything I can to try to be a great friend and supportive to Antonio and the things he’s going through.”
Host Jim Gray asked Brady how mental health has become more of a focus in athletics over the past couple years.
“I think about Ricky Williams. I think about Calvin Ridley this year,” Brady said. “A young player for the Atlanta Falcons who stepped away from the game. Again, I don’t think anyone is living in anyone else’s shoes. You don’t know what other people are going through and you try to do your job.
“You get to know people, you really try to do everything you can do to help them. ... It’s a very difficult thing that everyone is dealing with and it showed itself (Sunday) and it’s shown itself at the Olympics with (gymnast) Simone Biles. She came out and spoke prevalent about it.
“Antonio is a great player, an extremely talented player and we all want the best for him.”
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