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Tom Brady back at Bucs practice following excused absence

The 45-year-old quarterback had Wednesday (his birthday) off and an excused absence Friday.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) returned to practice Saturday after an excused absence for personal reasons.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) returned to practice Saturday after an excused absence for personal reasons. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Aug. 6|Updated Aug. 6

TAMPA — That collective exhale you heard Saturday morning emanated from AdventHealth Training Center after hundreds of Bucs fans caught their first glimpse of Tom Brady in a creamsicle practice jersey.

Absent the last two practices, Brady reappeared Saturday with the other three quarterbacks for his first training-camp workout since Tuesday. Brady had a pre-planned day off Wednesday (his 45th birthday) and, following a day off for the entire team Thursday, was excused from Friday’s workout for personal reasons.

“Definitely glad to see him back out there,” said veteran right guard Shaq Mason, a Brady teammate for five seasons in New England.

Brady was not made available to reporters after practice.

Naturally, the extended absence sparked a maelstrom of speculation about Brady, who retired after 22 seasons on Feb. 1, only to unretire 40 days later.

His absence coincided with news that two Dolphins executives received severe sanctions from the NFL for having secret discussions with Brady over an extended period about joining their franchise. Brady also conveyed dejection last week after center Ryan Jensen went down with what’s feared to be a season-ending knee injury.

But Saturday seemed business as usual. He connected with Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller on consecutive 2-yard touchdowns in a red-zone period, but was intercepted by Lavonte David on a throw over the middle earlier in practice.

Elsewhere, receiver Chris Godwin — returning from offseason knee surgery — suited up for the second consecutive day. Godwin ran routes at full speed during individual and positional periods, but again didn’t participate in 11-on-11 work.

“Same as (Friday),” coach Todd Bowles said. “He’s moving around good, he’s running around, he’s catching passes. He feels good, so we’re just taking it day by day.”

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Fellow receiver Mike Evans, who exited Friday after appearing to suffer a hamstring injury, observed Saturday’s practice but wasn’t suited up. Afterward, Bowles indicated Evans’ injury doesn’t appear serious.

“He’s sore, it’s day to day, so he’ll be fine,” Bowles said. “It’s just a matter of when we put him out there.”

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