TAMPA — Only a half-hour or so had elapsed in the inaugural practice of the Bucs’ three-day mandatory minicamp when Tom Brady appeared to overthrow second-year receiver Jaelon Darden on a downfield route.
No sooner had the ball hit the ground than a one-syllable expletive echoed across the AdventHealth Training Center. With that, Brady’s 23rd NFL season formally — and profanely — had commenced.
“That’s what he does,” center Ryan Jensen said.
Two months shy of his 45th birthday, and fresh off arguably the craziest offseason of his professional life, Brady engaged in his first full-squad practice since his March 13 un-retirement.
With longtime target Rob Gronkowski still unsigned and receiver Chris Godwin still recovering from knee surgery, Brady spent a hearty portion of the 90-minute workout acclimating himself with newer targets (like Darden, tight end Codey McElroy) and re-establishing his rhythm with more proven ones (like Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette).
While the timing was hardly in midseason form, the Brady intensity was.
“He expects perfection at all times,” Jensen said. “Granted, it’s Day 1 of minicamp and he hasn’t been here, but when he comes back, it’s like that expectation has never changed, so it was good. It really made practice feel a little bit more competitive today. And the pace was unreal; it was fast paced.”
‘Status quo’ on sidelined starters
First-year coach Todd Bowles had no update Tuesday on the status of Godwin or veteran inside linebacker Lavonte David (Lisfranc injury), both of whom appeared at the minicamp but didn’t participate.
“They’re status quo right now,” Bowles said. “When they’re ready to go, they’re ready to go. I’ll wait until the trainer tells me, but we’re going to go with the guys that’s healthy right now and if we get some surprises, we’ll be happy to have them back.”
Other players present but not participating fully included safety Antoine Winfield Jr., receiver Russell Gage, cornerback Rashard Robinson, linebacker Grant Stuard, rookie tight end Cade Otton and cornerback Don Gardner. Robinson appeared to have a heavy bandage on his right hand, while Otton is recovering from offseason ankle surgery.
Rookie tailback Rachaad White — the team’s third-round pick — was absent due to a personal matter but is expected back Wednesday, Bowles said.
Odds and ends
Former coach Bruce Arians, now assistant to general manager Jason Licht, appeared at practice in his trademark golf cart. ... Veteran Aaron Stinnie, among a handful of players battling for the left guard job vacated when Ali Marpet retired, appeared to take most of the first-team reps. “I know I have the utmost confidence in Stinnie because he’s a great run blocker, he’s getting better every day in pass protection and he’s a smart player,” Jensen said. ... Former Bucs quarterback Bruce Gradkowski attended Tuesday’s practice and said he’ll serve as offensive coordinator for Anthony Becht (another former Buc) for the XFL’s St. Louis franchise.
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Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls
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