By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — If you can believe it, this here website took one whole day off from the extravaganza of chasing the Tom Brady rumors that are driving the internet engine on a 24/7 basis. It was very nice!

Alas, the breaks can only last so long. And so, we must dutifully report that Tom Brady will definitely be leaving the Patriots. Oh, and he’ll also be returning to the Patriots.

That’s where we’re at.

Start with the newer “report,” which comes from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, via meme. Honestly. Is there a story out there? Don’t think so!. Was it said on the radio? A podcast? A video? Can’t tell!

But it does exist in meme form. On multiple social media platforms. And it looks pretty juicy.

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A post shared by B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) on

The Twitter/Gram/FB trifecta! Nailed it!

In case your computer, phone or tablet is averse to memes (sounds like a lousy piece of technology!), the meme says this:

“According to B/R’s Matt Miller, the feeling around the NFL is that free agent Tom Brady will re-sign with the Patriots — and get some help. A former New England staffer says Bill Belichick knows he can’t win with any other available QB. Two names who’ve come up ‘consistently’ are TE Hunter Henry and WR A.J. Green.”

The fact that we don’t know where this came from, and the fact that it came from a “former New England staffer”? Baby, that’s not going to stop that meme from spreading. And boy did it ever spread. More than 1,800 retweets and almost 10,000 likes on Twitter. It got 47,000 likes on the Gram, along with 600 comments. And a thousand people who love to get news from Facebook reacted to it, with over 400 comments and 300 shares.

That’s just how the internet works nowadays. Call around, work some sources, put together a well-written article? Maybe it’ll get a look. Throw some words on a meme? Oh yeah, bubba. Now you’re cooking with gas.

So that’s that end of the spectrum. On the other, Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots. And that’s a 99.6 percent certainty.

Of course, that assertion was merely an opinion espoused by Christian Fauria, the former Patriots tight end who hosts a show on WEEI and also graces the WBZ set for “Sports Final” during the football season. Fauria said on the radio that, based on the way the team has treated Brady’s contract going back to last summer, Brady is “goneski.”

“I am putting [the percentage of Brady leaving] at 99.6 percent Tom Brady never wears a Patriots jersey again,” Fauria said.

Fauria wasn’t reporting anything. He even joked that he’s “100 percent, 90 percent of the time … or at least 60 percent of the time I’m a hundred percent.”

Nevertheless, the New York Post turned it into a news story: “Patriots are ‘100 percent done’ with Tom Brady: former teammate Christian Fauria.” Fox News reacted to the “news” … for some reason.

The “news” spread so quickly that Fauria had to get mad on the internet and make some videos. (He should have made a meme!)

Silly season.


In terms of actual Tom Brady speculation that’s worth believing, consider this from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe:

“[Feb. 23 is] when the NFL will descend upon Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine and Brady’s camp can assess his value on the open market from potentially interested teams. Yes, that’s illegal tampering. And yes, everyone does it.”

Howe noted that with team executives and agents all in the same city, all of that illegal-but-not-if-nobody-knows-about-it tampering takes place. That’s when some real knowledge can be gained in terms of team’s interest and plans and offers and all of that good stuff might actually start materializing. Until then, everything you hear is … mostly ridiculous.

Good stuff, Jeff. You go ahead and print that out on a meme, and you just might gain entry into the three-ring circus known as The Tom Brady Speculation Extravaganza. It’s a good time. And it’s only in town for 33 more days.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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