Todd Bowles says Tom Brady still locked in as ever

The Bucs coach downplayed Brady’s absence (he attended Robert Kraft’s wedding Friday) from Saturday’s walk-through.
Published Oct. 17, 2022|Updated Oct. 17, 2022

TAMPA — A day after the most disconcerting loss of the season, Bucs coach Todd Bowles spent part of Monday afternoon’s postmortem downplaying the incident many national outlets were bent on overplaying.

Tom Brady’s attendance at Patriot owner Robert Kraft’s wedding in New York City on Friday night, resulting in his absence from Saturday morning’s team meetings and walk-throughs.

Naturally, Brady’s brief getaway — combined with the Bucs’ unsightly 20-18 loss Sunday to the injury-besieged Steelers — prompted rampant (if not redundant) dissection of the incident. Questions posted on social media and national sports-talk shows ranged from whether Brady gets special treatment to whether his attendance at the wedding on a game weekend put off teammates.

Moments after the game, Bowles said Brady’s absence from Saturday’s team sessions had no bearing on the team’s 25% efficiency (one touchdown in four tries) in the red zone. On Monday, Bowles was asked about the perception Brady is treated differently than his peers.

“He works as hard as anybody,” the coach said.

“Special treatment, there’s been a few guys that have missed some meetings and some practices for some special things that just doesn’t get publicized because they’re not him. So it kind of comes with the territory, you don’t worry about it too much.”

Bowles added that player absences from the team — due to weddings, funerals, etc. — occur “a lot more than you realize.” Just so happened, Brady’s latest departure came just before his team amassed a season-low 304 yards, finished 4-for-14 on third down and had to settle for a field goal after getting a first and goal at the 3.

Combine those optics with his 11-day absence from training camp, and another inevitable question arises.

Is Brady still locked in as much as past seasons?

“Yes,” Bowles said.

Hours later, on his weekly Let’s Go! podcast, Brady suggested to co-host Jim Gray and guest Kevin Durant that his inner drive remains as searing as ever at age 45.

“I almost look at a football season like you’re going away on deployment for the military, and it’s like, ‘Man, here I go again,’” Brady said.

“Whatever you may say, like, ‘Oh man, I want to make sure I spend a little more time doing this,’ when it comes down to it, your competitiveness takes over. And as much as you want to have this playful balance with the work balance, you’re going to end up doing exactly what you’ve always done, which is why you are who you are. You’re going to go, ‘How ... do I get it done?’”

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Cameron Brate has sprained neck

The diagnosis of tight end Cameron Brate turned out far less frightening than the images of the 31-year-old veteran being removed from the Acrisure Stadium field via stretcher Sunday.

Bowles said Monday that Brate sustained a sprained neck, and all other tests came back negative.

“He has all his extremities moving well and he’s resting, so that’s been the extent of it,” said Bowles, who offered no timetable for when Brate might return. “Turned out great for him.”

Brate was injured on a collision with Steelers linebacker Myles Jack after catching a short Tom Brady pass in the third quarter. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for evaluation, but flew home with the team.

“It was good to see him, it was good for the guys to see him,” Bowles added. “It relieved a lot of people’s minds.”

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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