BOSTON (CBS) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed off their free agent prize on Tuesday, formally introducing quarterback Tom Brady. Well, they didn’t actually show him off, with the coronavirus pandemic relegating what should have been a franchise-altering event into a conference call, but Brady was introduced nonetheless.
Even without the signature moment where Brady holds up his fancy new Tampa Bay jersey, Tuesday marked a new day for the future Hall of Famer.
“This is an exciting moment for me in my life, entering something that is very unique to me. It’s the first time it’s happened in 20 years. I’m taking it day by day,” Brady said in his first statements as a Buccaneer. “The expectation for me is to come in and do what I feel is right for the organization, to be a great team player and do everything I can to get up to speed with what my responsibilities are.”
Going into his age 43 season, Brady will look to end a 12-year playoff drought in Tampa Bay. He joins a team that has finished last in the NFC South in eight of the last 11 seasons. While he owns six Super Bowl rings to himself, the Buccaneers franchise has played in the big game just once in its 43-year history, winning a title in 2002.
Brady doesn’t want to put any expectations on his new team, but he made it clear that anything less than hard work will not be accepted.
“I’m not going to make a bunch of predictions,” he said. “I’m going to go out and give everything I’ve got.
“Where I’ve been, I learned a great deal. As I move forward, I said no one cares what you’ve done in the past,” said Brady. “Hopefully, the knowledge I have playing quarterback will allow me to transition quickly. There are lots of things I have to get up to speed on learning new terminology. It’s something I haven’t faced but something I’m looking forward to also.”
Brady said he has a lot to learn, from the new weapons that will be catching his passes to Bruce Arians’ high-flying offense to his new foes in the NFC South.
“There are some really talented guys on this offense with unique skill sets. It’s my responsibility; I have one ball and I have to deliver to the guy who can do something with it,” he said. “There is a lot of ground to make up because I haven’t worked with these players. I have to learn what they do, how they like things, and that’s part of the challenge.
“I’m excited to embrace this opportunity and see it for what it is,” Brady continued. “A lot of guys have been part of this team and want to be the best they can be and achieve the highest goal. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of that, and there’s no way to talk yourself into it. There’s a lot of hard work and a lot of commitment.
“I’m going to try to get the best out of myself and the best out of them,” he said. “It’s all dependent on the guys in this building and this facility to make it happen.”
While Brady was all-in with the Bucs on Tuesday, he didn’t want to discuss too much about his departure from New England. He did, however, say some very nice things about the only other franchise he’s ever played for.
“I leave there with just such great admiration for the people and organization,” Brady said of the Patriots. “It’s a world-class, first-class organization in every way. And I wanted to leave it in that way, too.”