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Where were you when Tom Brady unretired? Bucs players share their memories

One was at a steakhouse. Another was working out. Some are still pinching themselves.
Tom Brady leaves the field after a game against the Carolina Panthers in January at Raymond James Stadium. Brady's departure from football lasted all of 41 days before his March 13 announcement that he was returning to Tampa Bay for a 23rd NFL season.
Tom Brady leaves the field after a game against the Carolina Panthers in January at Raymond James Stadium. Brady's departure from football lasted all of 41 days before his March 13 announcement that he was returning to Tampa Bay for a 23rd NFL season. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Apr. 13

From a sports perspective, it was a seminal moment, where time stops in its tracks and many realize they’ll forever remember where they were — and what they were doing — when history transpired.

Tom Brady’s unretirement announcement — one month ago today — produced that effect, at least on the NFL and local landscape. Seems everyone recalls their movements of that mild March 13 evening, when the 44-year-old future Hall of Famer ended a 41-day hiatus from football and set off a surge of re-signings that propelled the Bucs back into the Super Bowl discussion.

Here are some of of the more notable recollections of that night from prominent people inside and outside the Bucs organization:

Jeff Darlington, ESPN

(Darlington and colleague Adam Schefter broke the original news of Brady’s retirement)

“I had just gotten back from a member-guest golf tournament at The Pelican, which is in Belleair. Literally had just gotten home (to Fort Lauderdale), so I had golfed for three days. ... What I thought about was, Tom has since said that I ruined his golf weekend (by reporting his retirement). What Tom doesn’t realize is that he had every opportunity to ruin my golf weekend if he had just (unretired) a day or two earlier.”

Linebacker Lavonte David

Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David doesn't remember precisely where he was when he heard the news of Tom Brady's unretirement, but he definitely wasn't surprised.
Bucs inside linebacker Lavonte David doesn't remember precisely where he was when he heard the news of Tom Brady's unretirement, but he definitely wasn't surprised.

“I believe I was ... shoot, where was I? I probably was home. I believe I was home. Throughout the whole offseason that was the whole speculation, people saying he’s going to come back, it’s not real. You never know. I kind of had my doubts about it, but I wasn’t really sure. And then when he officially came out and said he’s coming back, I wasn’t surprised. Everybody knows Tom is the ultimate competitor, and the way we went out last year (a 30-27 playoff loss to the Rams), I’m sure he didn’t want to end on that type of note, so I’m not surprised that he’s back to chase another one.”

Wide receiver Mike Evans

(from the Associated Press)

“He hit me up earlier in the day, he texted me. It was early in the morning, about 7 a.m. maybe. ... He sent me an article about the ball (used for his presumed final touchdown pass) selling (at auction), and then he just said something about, ‘There’s more touchdowns in our future’ or whatever. And I thought he was just trolling me. I thought he was just playing around, so I didn’t even really grasp it. I just sent him back a couple of emojis or something like that. Then he texted me and Chris (Godwin) a couple of hours later and said he informed Jason and (Bruce Arians) that he was coming back and that we’ve got to go put in some work. We were ecstatic. I was at home playing video games. That was wild, I did not expect that at all.”

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Defensive lineman William Gholston

“I think I was working out — it’s a squat day, it was leg day. And we got (out) from under there and they were like, ‘Hey, Tom unretired.’ And in my head I didn’t feel like he really retired. I think he just thanked the fans when he made his letter; that’s just something I’m saying to myself. It was awesome, put a little extra incentive on everything.”

Bucs co-owner Joel Glazer

Bucs owner/co-chairman Joel Glazer is seen on the field just prior to kickoff of his team's division playoff game against the Rams on Jan. 23 at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs owner/co-chairman Joel Glazer is seen on the field just prior to kickoff of his team's division playoff game against the Rams on Jan. 23 at Raymond James Stadium. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Glazier denies the widespread presumption he learned of Brady’s decision at a Manchester United soccer match on March 12: “It wasn’t there. But we knew soon before everybody else.”

Wide receiver Chris Godwin

“He had texted me and Mike (Evans); we have a small little group chat that we hit sometimes. He texted us probably 20 minutes before (his announcement) and said, ‘Just so y’all know, I’m coming back and I’m excited for another year.’ Mike and I were gassed up, we were like, ‘What are you talking about, you’re coming back? You just retired.’ But it’s hard to walk away from the game, especially when you’re as dedicated to it as Tom is. I would say I’m surprised, but I know him, I know what this game means to him, and I know how his family feels about it.”

Center Ryan Jensen

“He called me on Sunday, pretty much right before he had announced and said, ‘Hey, let’s run it back. I’m coming back.’ At that point, I was pretty much already committed to coming back to Tampa, and obviously that’s just the sugar on top. It was a crazy day. I was having a birthday party for my daughter and dealing with trying to negotiate (a new deal), and also Tom calls me.”

Safety Logan Ryan

Veteran safety Logan Ryan, who played cornerback his first seven NFL seasons, including four with Tom Brady in New England, signed with the Bucs in March.
Veteran safety Logan Ryan, who played cornerback his first seven NFL seasons, including four with Tom Brady in New England, signed with the Bucs in March. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

“I was in the kitchen making something for my kids, maybe a Hot Pocket or something like that, and my wife told me. So I was late to the party, later than everyone else here. ‘Did you see what’s going on? Tom’s back.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ So yeah, I had no idea.”

Linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

Bucs outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (9) takes a selfie with a fan's camera as fans cheer behind him before his team's game against the Panthers on Jan. 9 at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (9) takes a selfie with a fan's camera as fans cheer behind him before his team's game against the Panthers on Jan. 9 at Raymond James Stadium. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

“I was on my balcony with my mom. And then I was like, ‘Is this real?’ Yeah, pretty exciting.”

Tackle Tristan Wirfs

“I remember I was at a Texas Roadhouse with my mom, and the TV behind me, she’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, look.’ It was breaking news, and my phone started going off, my buddies were texting me. I was like, ‘Here we go.’”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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