New Buccaneers QB Tom Brady joined Howard Stern for an interview that lasted longer than two hours and covered a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Brady’s decision to leave New England to his life at home. Here are some notable quotes from the interview.
Leaving New England
Brady told Stern that he knew going into this past season that it would probably be his last year with the Patriots. He had negotiated his contract to allow him to test free agency, and while it wasn’t 100 percent that he would be gone until his final, emotional conversation with team owner Robert Kraft, it was the most likely outcome.
“I don’t think there was a final, final decision until it happened, but I would say I probably knew before the start of the season that it was my last year. I knew that our time was coming to an end,” Brady said via NFL Media’s Kevin Patra.
“There was a time before last offseason, I had a contract that got restructured, and basically, from my standpoint, I knew that at the end of the year I was going to become a free agent for the first time in my career,” Brady elaborated. “And I had spoken about it with the ownership of the team, Mr. Kraft, and he was good with it. I had spoken about it with coach Belichick, he was good with it. That’s what we decided to do. And if we, over the course of the season, and the offseason, there wasn’t a ton of substantial conversations for us to continue. We had some. And we both thought about it, and in the end, it was just a great way to end two decades. We had a great conversation … I said this before, there is no bigger fan of the New England Patriots organization than me. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that I could continue to play there at the highest level. I feel like I want to prove to myself that I can still perform at the highest level.”
Joining The Buccaneers
Brady will become the latest legendary NFL figure to finish his career with a different team than the one he started with. Joe Montana was a Chief, Peyton Manning was a Bronco and now Brady will be a Buccaneer. However, Brady said protecting his legacy by staying in New England was never a factor in his decision.
“I never cared about legacy. I could give a s—- about (legacy),” Brady told Stern. “I never once when I was in high school did I think ‘Man, I can’t wait for what my football legacy looks like.’ That’s not me, that’s not my personality.
“Why would I choose a different place? It’s because it was just time. I don’t know what to say other than that. I accomplished everything I could in two decades with an incredible organization, an incredible group of people, and that will never change. No one can ever take that away from me. No one can take those experiences or Super Bowl championships away from us.”
Brady added he’s looking forward to a new challenge with the Buccaneers while leaving the Patriots with no resentment after two phenomenal decades.
“No, absolutely not,” he said. “No, because this is a part for me in my life to experience something very different. There’s ways for me to grow and evolve in a different way that I haven’t had the opportunity to do, that aren’t right or wrong, they’re just right for me.”
Relationship With Bill Belichick
Brady’s relationship with his head coach Bill Belichick has been the subject of a lot of focus and speculation in recent months and years. With Brady’s career in New England ending, many have rushed to pin the blame on Belichick for pushing Brady out the door. However, Brady sought to provide some clarity on their relationship, particularly the past few seasons.
“I think he has a lot of loyalty. He and I have had a lot of conversations that nobody’s ever been privy to, nor should they be,” Brady said via NFL Media’s James Palmer. “So many wrong assumptions were made about our relationship or about how he felt about me. I’m not going to respond to every rumor or assumption that’s made. Other than what his responsibility as a coach is to try to get the best player for the team not only in the short term but in the long term as well. So, what I can control is trying to be the best I can be in both of those situations also. So, I got into uncharted territory as an athlete because I started to break the mold of what so many other athletes had experienced.
“I got to a point where I was an older athlete, and he started to plan for the future, which is what his responsibility is. I don’t fault him for that. That’s what he should be doing. That’s what any coach should be doing. Not that I would ever coach, but if I’m ever in a position of authority, I would understand that too. I recognized that and we talked about it.”
Brady also had choice words regarding the debate about who has a bigger hand in the success of the Patriots’ dynasty: himself or Belichick.
“It’s a pretty s—— argument that people would say that because, again, I can’t do his job and he can’t do mine,” he said via NFL Media’s Kevin Patra. “So, the fact that you can say ‘would I be successful without him?’ The same level of success? I don’t believe I would have been. But I feel the same vice-versa as well. To have him (as a coach) allowed me to be the best I could be. So, I’m grateful for that. And I very much believe he feels the same way about me because we’ve expressed that to each other.”
Brady acknowledged that over the course of his career playing football, spanning 20 years in the NFL and more in college and high school, he’s suffered multiple concussions. However, he still loves playing football and has no intention of stopping as long as he’s still able to play. He told Stern that when Kobe Bryant died, it steeled his resolve to do what he loved for as long as he could do it.
“We all think we’re going to live forever but the reality is we don’t know when our day is going to come,” Brady said via Pro Football Talk. “I could stop playing football because I’m worried about what’s going to happen. Why don’t I live my life the way I want, and enjoy it, the way that is most fulfilling to me? For me, that’s doing what I love to do. You don’t tell a musician to stop singing at age 42. You don’t tell a painter to stop painting at 42.”
Trust With Receivers
Brady’s exacting standards for his wide receivers have become well-known over the course of his career. He expected his pass catchers to see the field the exact same way he did and be exactly where he wanted them to be when he wanted them there. In the interview with Stern, Brady shed a little more light on what would happen behind the scenes when a player wasn’t meeting those expectations.
“I would say, ‘I don’t have any trust that this guy can help us win the game,’” Brady said via NESN’s Doug Kyed. “I’ve definitely expressed my opinion to say ‘If you put him out there, I’m not going to throw him the ball.’ The whole team is trusting me to do what’s right by the team, so you can’t put someone out there who I don’t believe in. Because if I don’t believe in him, it’s worthless for the team. I think fortunately for me, Coach Belichick always saw it the same way as me, which is why I think we had such a great connection. He saw football very much the same way that I saw it. All the coaches that I worked with on a daily basis, they want the same thing.”
Marriage To Gisele Bundchen
Brady offered a window into his relationship with Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen. The two have been married since 2009 and have two kids together, but Brady said they hit a rocky point two years ago that actually played into why he started skipping OTA’s with the Patriots. He said she wrote him a heartfelt letter about how she was shouldering the bulk of the burden at home and things needed to change, a letter which Brady said caused him to “check himself.”
“There was a couple years ago, she didn’t feel I was doing my part for the family,” Brady said via Jaclyn Hendricks of the New York Post. “She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house, and then all the sudden when the season would end, that I’d be like, ‘Great, let me get into all my other business activities. Let me get into my football training.’ And she’s sitting there going, ‘Well, when are you going to do things for the house? When are you going to take the kids to school and do that?’
“She wasn’t satisfied with our marriage. So I needed to make a change in that.”