The almighty Tom Brady showed football fans age is only a number after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all the way to the Super Bowl last NFL season but has prompted some curiosity after going under the knife at the end of the campaign.
The 43-year-old had surgery on his knee during the offseason, leading many to wonder whether he’d be good to train heading into 2021/22. If this week was anything to go by, however, the veteran quarterback should be just fine. Brady was reported to have gone full speed during Bucs workouts earlier this week, with coach Bruce Arians revealing he had to get the former Patriots star to slow down by pulling him out.
While Brady is nothing near the physical exhibit he was some years ago, he’s still the best winner in the NFL and that was on display all of last season, right up to his celebrating a seventh career championship. Brady will be 44 in August and, while he’s still one of the best players in the league, he can’t be expected to be the Brady of yesteryear. In fact, Arians wants him to dial it down a bit.
“We talked to him a little bit about maybe practicing more in the shotgun, just to save those three or four steps,” the coach said after the start of the team’s minicamp. “They add up, especially through training camp. Maybe put a little pistol in, some things where you don’t have to do as many steps, which I’ve done with injured guys in the past. Just watch him every single day, have great lines of communication. That’s why we talk every week throughout the whole offseason.”
Meanwhile, the player has admitted to knowing he was going to need surgery on his knee prior to the start of last season, which makes his feat seem all the more impressive as he was able to fire his new team to Super Bowl victory on a bad knee.
“From this point to the beginning of the season, to the beginning of training camp, I really feel like I can really work hard at football improvement as opposed to getting back to a rehab, you know, place where you’re more baseline,” he explained on Wednesday. “It was an injury I dealt with really since last April, May. I knew I’d have to do something at the end of the year, and happy I did it. It was probably something that certainly needed to be done and there was a great outcome, so I’m very happy about that. I feel I’ll be able to do some different things this year than I was able to do last year.”
It remains to be seen how good Brady can continue to be but he has a lot going for him. For one, he’s back to being healthy and there’s also the fact that he’s had a whole year to learn how things work under Arians, with all starters from last season remaining with the team. That should make for a very positive start next term.
“I just think back to where I was a year ago at this time, it was a very different situation in terms of what I knew – the knowledge of the offense,” he said. “And I think starting at a place like I’m at now allows me a better grasp of things. We’re starting at a good place. We just have to build on it.”
The Bucs are the second favorites to win the Super Bowl next season. The bookmakers have them 7/1 to replicate last term’s success – the Kansas City Chiefs are the outright favorites at 9/2.
As for Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner insists he feels good heading into next term.
“I feel really good. Every player deals with different things,” he told reporters. “I never like to talk about injuries. I’m just a little bit old school in that way in that you deal with them and then you just make the most of them.
“The good part is I’ll be able to commit a lot of time to other parts. I’m sure I’ll be faced with different adversities this year, but I had to spend a lot of time tending to that particular injury, which happens when you have something that you ultimately need to have surgery on to get fixed. So I had my knee surgery, and that was about 15 weeks ago today. Really happy with my rehab process, and it’s been great communication. Alex [Guerrero] and I worked really hard to try to get back to full speed, to get what I need to do to begin to improve. It’s been a good process of learning, and I feel like I’m there now.”
Now let’s see if he gets that eighth.