BOSTON (CBS) — Surprisingly, it didn’t appear as though Tom Brady had many suitors when the NFL’s legal tampering period opened Monday afternoon. But there may have been a good reason teams stayed away from Brady, and it didn’t really have much to do with Brady himself, but who he wanted to bring with him.
The quarterback may have told teams a stipulation before signing him: Bring in Antonio Brown, too.
This comes according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero during a Tuesday morning discussion about Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
As @TomPelissero and I discussed on TV, the word among teams interested in Tom Brady were among the impression that Brady wanted to bring Antonio Brown with him to a new team. Brown is still under investigation, and remains to be seen when he can play. But Brady is close with him
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2020
Brady clearly liked playing with Brown when the two were teammates in New England for a grand total of 11 days, taking him under his wing and supporting him every step of the way. The Patriots brought in Brown after he temper tantrumed his way out of Oakland (after doing the same in Pittsburgh just a few months prior), and the receiver caught four of the eight passes that Brady sent his way in his one game as a Patriot, including a touchdown.
But Brown was hit with a civil suit by a former trainer accusing him of sexual assault in the days after he signed with the Patriots, and more accusations came out in the days that followed. Brown was released by the Patriots after he sent threatening texts to one of his accusers.
If Brady really wanted to play with Brown again in the final years of his career, that would not have flown in New England. Brown burned every bridge imaginable after his two-week stint with the Patriots, including a Twitter rant where he went after New England owner Robert Kraft.
Brady did not like that post of Brown’s, as he tends to do with most of the receivers posts on social media, but was quick to hit the like button when Brown later apologized to Kraft.
Now we wait to see if Brown joins Brady in Tampa Bay. Bruce Arians coached Brown when the two were in Pittsburgh, but the Tampa head coach called Brown a “diva” in January 2019. Bringing Brown with him may not be the best way for Brady to ingrain himself with a new team.
Plus, Brown is still under investigation by the league, so Brady may not even get his way when it’s all said and done.