NFC Notes: Tom Brady, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


Buccaneers QB Tom Brady said he felt pressure to return around the start of free agency in March. 

“At this stage, it’s like 55% yes and 45% no. It’s not 100-0. That’s just the reality,” Brady said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. “It’s not that I’m not 100% committed, it’s just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it’s like ‘Ugh. All right, here we go.’ It’s like running a marathon. You can’t decide two weeks before the marathon, ‘Hey, I’m going to start running.’ We got right to free agency and I felt some pressure to do it and talked to the team and organization, and it all worked out.”

Brady mentioned that he was “partly” ready to retire due to his other responsibilities in life. 

“Partly, you know, yes,” said Brady. “And I think when you’re their [Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen‘s] age, if you were to ask me, ‘Are you going to play football next year?’ I would say there’s a 100% chance I’m playing. And I think as I’ve gotten older, that’s changed because I have other responsibilities.”

Brady added that he felt pressure to retire in order to focus on his family.

“So the responsibilities are many people taking care of me and things that I have off the field that are really important to me like my family, my kids, my wife’s done an amazing job of that. That’s a big commitment from her, so it’s harder when you get older. I don’t even think they know what’s coming. Aaron [Rodgers] knows these things because your life gets bigger as we all do, our life gets more full — there’s more responsibilities.”


Falcons HC Arthur Smith said they will be patient with CB Isaiah Oliver‘s return from a knee injury.

“We have to bring Isaiah along,” Smith said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s itching to get back out there, but we’ll be smart with Isaiah.”

Smith wouldn’t put a timeline on Oliver’s recovery. 

“We’ll see how he’s coming along,” Smith said. “I don’t want to put a timeline on it because that’s not fair to Isaiah. He’s itching to go, but we’re not going to put somebody out there who’s not ready.”

Smith added that they must identify more players who can play the nickel role and CB Darren Hall must continue developing. 

“You’ll see Isaiah go through some modified individual work,” Smith said. “But we’ve got to find somebody to play consistent in the nickel spot. Darren Hall needs to continue to develop.”


Panthers DE Brian Burns has just missed out on double-digit sacks so far in his young career, recording 7.5, nine and nine QB takedowns respectively in his first three seasons. Burns put on a bit of weight to 255 pounds in an effort to get stronger and finally break through in 2022. 

“The main thing is to be stronger. I don’t want to walk in here 270, not strong. I don’t want to do that,” he said via the Athletic’s Joe Person. “But I’ll come in at like 255, but solid and I’m strong with it. I’d rather do that than come in hella heavy and weak.”

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