TAMPA — Before ending his retirement and returning to the Bucs, Tom Brady knew he had to make better use of his timeouts.
At 45, the needs of his growing family ― wife Gisele and three children, Jack (14), Benjamin (12) and Vivian (9) — have increased.
His business empire now includes a clothing line (BRADY), production company, the TB12 healthy and fitness company with trainer Alex Guerrero and the NFT company, Autograph. In the offseason, he produced and starred in a film, 80 for Brady.
For a guy who has always beaten the clock, the hours and minutes that make up Brady’s day have become a precious commodity.
Brady has been excused from training camp until sometime after the Bucs’ preseason game at Tennessee on Aug. 20.
That announcement came Thursday from coach Todd Bowles when Brady was excused from his third practice in a week for what the Bucs have termed “personal reasons.”
“He’s going to deal with some personal things,” Bowles said. “This is something we talked about before training camp started. We allotted this time because he wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys and go through two weeks of training camp. Knowing he wasn’t going to play the first two games, he didn’t want to take away reps from Blaine (Gabbert) and Kyle (Trask), as well as (Ryan Griffin), as far as going into these next two games. It’s something that he needs to handle. We trust him.”
Note that Bowles said Brady’s hiatus had been scheduled before training camp.
Here’s what we know. The scheduled absence has nothing to do with Brady’s or his family members’ health.
Brady’s mother, Galynn, is a cancer survivor. His father, Tom Sr., fought a scary battle with COVID-19 last year that led to his hospitalization. Both are fine.
So let’s look at the facts:
Brady retired Feb. 1. He stayed away for 40 days until announcing on March 13 he would return for a 23rd NFL season.
During that time, Brady and his family examined what it would take for him to return to the Bucs and the NFL.
Clearly, his life is increasingly complicated.
Here’s what he said when he spoke at the Bucs’ mandatory minicamp in June.
“It’s very challenging when you’re 43 or 44 because there are a lot of other things that are pressing and a lot of other things that are really important in your life, like your kids and your wife and different relationships,” Brady said. “Things have always taken a back seat to football. That’s just how it has gone for me.
“I have a very tricky, complex life in different aspects and I’m just trying to navigate it the best way I can.”
Taking time off during training camp is the course Brady charted.
Most of the offense is installed in the first few weeks of camp and the rapport is built with new players such as Julio Jones, Russell Gage and Kyle Rudolph. Since Brady wasn’t going to play in preseason games against the Dolphins and Titans, he decided to carve out some time for his personal life.
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The Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, would have had to have been consulted. Of course, there has been very little they wouldn’t grant Brady.
Bucs coaches and teammates also are supportive of Brady’s plan.
If you want to play Monday morning quarterback, the Bucs could have done a better job getting ahead of this story. Separate announcements in consecutive weeks that Brady had been excused for personal reasons only heightened speculation.
But Brady is just as committed to the Bucs for 2022 as he was the two previous seasons.
When he returns, he will have up to three full weeks to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys. After 23 seasons, Brady has saved up a few timeouts.
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