Tom Brady is taking time away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to “deal with some personal things”, according to the team’s head coach, Todd Bowles.
Bowles said the quarterback will return after the team’s preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on 20 August. The Bucs open their regular season campaign against the Dallas Cowboys on 11 September.
“It’s a personal issue. That’s all I can tell you,” said Bowles, when asked if Brady’s absence was health related.
Bowles said that Brady’s absence had been agreed in advance and it had already been announced that he would not play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. Bowles said he is confident Brady will be ready for the start of the season, despite missing practice time with his offense.
“This is something we talked about before training camp started. We allotted this time because he wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys and go through two weeks of training camp,” Bowles told reporters on Thursday. “Knowing he wasn’t going to play the first two games, he didn’t want to take away reps from Blaine [Gabbert] and Kyle [Trask], as well as [Ryan Griffin], as far as going into these next two games.”
The 45-year-old Brady led the league in passing yards and touchdowns last season. He announced his retirement from football in February before reversing the decision shortly afterwards. In May, it was announced that Brady had signed a 10-year, $375m contract with Fox Sports, which will start when he retires from the NFL for good.
This month, the NFL suspended Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and docked the team a first-round selection in the 2023 draft for tampering after an attempt to lure Brady to Miami. Asked by reporters if he was worried about Brady’s commitment to the Bucs, Bowles replied: “I am not worried, no.”
Elsewhere on Thursday, Brady’s former teammate at the New England Patriots, James White, announced his retirement. The 30-year-old is perhaps most well-known for his part in Super Bowl LI, when he and Brady led a remarkable comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons. The running back’s three touchdowns in the game matched the Super Bowl record.
“James defines the term consummate professional,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “His dependability, consistency, unselfishness and performance under pressure are elite. Combining great intelligence, quickness and elusiveness, James was a perfect fit for our pass offense. While soft spoken, he brought exceptional leadership and competitive toughness to the team. He was a multi-year team captain and one of the most respected, best team players I have ever coached.”