Tom Brady is back with the Buccaneers. The 45-year-old arrived at camp today after being away from the team for 11 days to deal with what the team called a personal matter.
Brady is back, and the Buccaneers are happy.
“Anytime you have all your guys back, you feel good, you know, especially after the injury bug has hit lately,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said. “We’re happy to have him back,”
There were many different theories for why Brady left the team. According to Bowles, Brady’s absence was not an issue, and the team knew what was happening.
“No, we pretty much keep distractions out of our locker room,” he said. “It wasn’t a big deal to us because everybody knew what was going on.”
Also, Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate and LaVonte Davis reacted to the return of Brady.
(On QB Tom Brady’s performance in his first day back)
Brate: “Pretty much as expected. I’m sure wherever Tom was, he was working out still and getting his reps in. If anyone can get away with an 11-day break during training camp, it’s Tom. He came back firing on all cylinders again today. We are all excited he’s back, and we are ready to move on with that.”
(On if he noticed a missing veteran presence with Brady gone)
Brate: “It was definitely weird. Tom is such like an omnipresent being; he’s like the unquestioned leader of the team. For him to not be there for 11 days, it was kind of a good opportunity for other guys to step up and fill that void. It was different, Tom is usually kind of cussing guys up and down the field when we’re messing up, but we didn’t really have that. It was different, but I thought some of the other veterans stepped up. I thought Blaine [Gabbert] did a good job commanding the first team offense while Tom was out.”
(On how nice it is to have QB Tom [Brady] back today)
David: “It’s always nice to have Tom back, man. His presence is different, just the leader that he is, the type of guy he is. You know, it’s great to have a guy like that back, man. I’m sure he’s ready to work like today – he came back ready to pick up where he left off and leading the guys on offense.”
(On if there were any doubt Brady would be coming back)
David: “No doubt at all. You know, whatever time they said he was going to be out, I knew that whenever it was time to come back, he was going to come back. Tom is a competitor, he’s a team guy, and there was no doubt in our minds at all that he would be back in time.”
On Monday, the Buccaneers placed outside linebacker LB Cam Gill(Lisfranc injury) and guard OG Aaron Stinnie(torn ACL/MCL) on injured reserve. Both will miss the rest of the season.
The Miami Dolphins will forfeit a first-round selection in the 2023 NFL draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft for violations of NFL policies relating to the integrity of the game, the league announced Tuesday.
In addition, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is suspended through October 17, 2022, and fined $1.5 million; Ross may not attend any league meeting before the Annual Meeting in 2023 and is removed from all League committees indefinitely.
Also, Dolphins’ Vice Chairman/Limited Partner, Bruce Beal, was fined $500,000 and may not attend any League meeting for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Tuesday’s announcement follows a six-month investigation covering events from 2019-2022 that was led by former U.S. Attorney and SEC Chair Mary Jo White and a team of lawyers from the Debevoise law firm.
According to the league, the investigation focused on two subjects: (1) whether the Dolphins violated League rules prohibiting tampering with a player and a coach under contract to other clubs; and (2) whether, during the 2019 season, the Dolphins intentionally lost games to improve the club’s draft position in the 2020 draft, and whether Ross offered Head Coach Brian Flores financial incentives or otherwise encouraged him to lose games.
Below are the league’s findings, which include tampering charges for contact with Tom Brady and former Saints head coach Sean Payton. However, the league determined that the Dolphins did not lose intentionally in 2019.
The investigation conclusively established violations of the Anti-Tampering Policy on three separate occasions:
The Dolphins had impermissible communications with quarterback Tom Brady in 2019-20, while he was under contract to the New England Patriots. Those communications began as early as August 2019 and continued throughout the 2019 season and post-season. These numerous and detailed discussions were conducted by Mr. Beal, who in turn kept Mr. Ross and other Dolphins executives informed of his discussions with Mr. Brady.
The Dolphins again had impermissible communications with both Mr. Brady and his agent during and after the 2021 season, while he was under contract to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those discussions began no later than early December 2021 and focused on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive, although at times they also included the possibility of his playing for the Dolphins. Both Messrs. Ross and Beal were active participants in these discussions.
In January 2022, the Dolphins had impermissible communications with Don Yee, the agent for New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton, about having Mr. Payton serve as Miami’s head coach. Miami did not seek consent from New Orleans to have these discussions, which occurred before Coach Payton announced his decision to retire as head coach of the Saints. Following that announcement, Miami requested permission to speak to Coach Payton for the first time, which New Orleans declined to grant.
“The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,” Commissioner Goodell said. “I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of several years. Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was so directly involved in the violations.”
“Tanking” to Improve Draft Position
The investigation also addressed whether the Dolphins intentionally lost games during the 2019 season to improve the club’s draft position in the 2020 draft and whether Mr. Ross offered financial incentives or otherwise encouraged the head coach to do so.
The investigation conclusively established the following:
The Dolphins did not intentionally lose games during the 2019 season. Nor did anyone at the club, including Mr. Ross, instruct Coach Flores to do so. No witness contended otherwise. The Dolphins competed hard to win every game, including at the end of the season when they beat Cincinnati and New England, despite worsening Miami’s position in the 2020 draft.
On a number of occasions during the 2019 season, Mr. Ross expressed his belief that the Dolphins’ position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take priority over the team’s win-loss record. These comments were made most frequently to Team President and CEO Tom Garfinkel, but were also made to General Manager Chris Grier, Senior Vice President Brandon Shore and Coach Flores. These comments, which he took to be suggestions that he lose games, troubled Coach Flores and led him to express his concerns in writing to senior club executives, each of whom assured Coach Flores that everyone, including Mr. Ross, supported him in building a winning culture in Miami. After this, Mr. Ross no longer made any such comments to Coach Flores.
One such comment is a claimed offer by Mr. Ross to pay Coach Flores $100,000 to lose games, as to which there are differing recollections about the wording, timing, and context. However phrased, such a comment was not intended or taken to be a serious offer, nor was the subject pursued in any respect by Mr. Ross or anyone else at the club.
“Every club is expected to make a good faith effort to win every game,” Commissioner Goodell stated. “The integrity of the game, and public confidence in professional football, demand no less. An owner or senior executive must understand the weight that his or her words carry, and the risk that a comment will be taken seriously and acted upon, even if that is not the intent or expectation. Even if made in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments suggesting that draft position is more important than winning can be misunderstood and carry with them an unnecessary potential risk to the integrity of the game. The comments made by Mr. Ross did not affect Coach Flores’ commitment to win and the Dolphins competed to win every game. Coach Flores is to be commended for not allowing any comment about the relative importance of draft position to affect his commitment to win throughout the season.”
Based on the findings and conclusions, the following discipline will be imposed:
The Dolphins will forfeit the club’s first-round selection in the 2023 NFL draft and third-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Mr. Ross is suspended through October 17, 2022. During this period, he may not be present at the Dolphins’ facility and may not represent the club at any team or NFL event. He may not attend any League meeting prior to the Annual Meeting in 2023, is removed from all League committees indefinitely, and fined $1.5 million.
Mr. Bruce Beal, Dolphins’ Vice Chairman/Limited Partner, may not attend any League meeting for the remainder of the 2022 season and is fined $500,000.
This discipline is informed by the Competition Committee’s clear guidance that more stringent discipline, including suspensions, should be imposed for tampering violations to deter future violations and to safeguard the integrity of the game.
In March, Tom Brady decided to return for his 23rd season, and he told the world at the time that he had some “unfinished business.”
Brady, who has won seven Super Bowls and wants another one, will be 45 on August 3, so the time is now.
On Monday, Brady addressed the media for the first time during training camp and discussed his comments about unfinished business.
“We’re just going to do the best we can do,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of work between now [and then] – it’s August 1. There’s a lot of time. Nobody knows what the team is going to look like – you think you have a center, and then he gets injured, so the team is different in one day. There’s a long time between now and the first game.”
Over the past few seasons, the Buccaneers have grabbed some decent talent in free agency, and they recently signed seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones. Brady has been around a long time, but according to him, he’s not always the reason players want to come to Tampa Bay.
“Naturally, I’m an older player, and I’ve been very fortunate to know a lot of guys,” he said. “Guys choose this team because of the team, not because of me. We have a great organization, great teammates, and I think people are excited to come join a great group of people and great group of men. It’s never about one person – it has never been what this sport has been about. It’s the ultimate team sport, and I love playing with players that our professional, players that want to work hard, and players that put the team first.”
One thing that could cause some issues for Brady is the injury to Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen, who is expected to miss significant time due to a left knee injury. Without Jensen, Brady will have to count on second-year center Robert Hainsey.
“He’s worked really hard,” Brady said about Hainsey. “Obviously, everyone’s heartbroken with what happened, Ryan [Jensen]. So, that’ll take a little time, but ‘Haines’ (Robert Hainsey) has to step into the job and do a great job. He’s worked hard last year, really gained the trust with a lot of people, and he has to go earn it. Like all of us, it’s not what you did [or] how hard you worked in the offseason; it’s how good of a football player are you. It’s to be determined for all of us.”
The moment Brady announced his return was the moment the Bucs were all in on 2022. They finished their business in 2020, and they hope, with the help of Brady, to take care of their unfinished business in 2022.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed wide receiver Julio Jones, the team announced Wednesday.
According to reports, it’s a one-year deal.
In 2021, after ten seasons in Atlanta, the 33-year-old was traded to the Titans. He battled injuries and finished the season with career-lows of 34 receptions for 431 yards and one touchdown and released by Tennessee in March.
However, it’s a new year and a new opportunity in Tampa Bay for Jones.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to be a part of something special in the Buccaneer family,” Jones said Wednesday. “Just looking forward to getting to work.”
According to Jones, signing with the Buccaneers is about winning a Super Bowl.
“Absolutely. It’s not a money play – it’s none of that,” he said. “It’s just for me to come out here knowing my value and knowing what I have to offer. The Buccaneers organization is just giving me the opportunity to come here and showcase my skills and just to be a part of something new, to be a part of this team. They have everything that they need already, right? But they’ve got to put the work in each and every day. Nothing is given to you. You’ve just got to come to work every day. That’s what I bring. I’m going to work every day – that’s just who I am.”
Like many players, Jones, who was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2010s All-Decade team alongside of Brady, is excited to play with one of the best quarterbacks of all time.
“It’s a surreal moment,” Jones said about playing with Brady. “It’s amazing. I’m ready to go. At the end of the day, it’s all about accountability. I have to be accountable for him, the team, and everybody. When all is said and done, I’ve still got to come to work. I still have to put the work in. You can see Julio is with the Bucs, and we’ve got Mike [Evans], we’ve got Tom, but we’ve all got to put the work in. Nobody is going to give us anything, so we’ve just got to come out here and work each and every day. That’s all it’s about.”
Jones is a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in receiving yards per game (91.9) and ranks third in receptions per game (6.1) among players with at least 100 games played. In addition, he ranks 17th in NFL history in career receiving yards (13,330) and 25th in career receptions (879).
Among players currently on NFL rosters, Jones ranks first in receptions, first in receiving yards, third in yards per reception, and fourth in receiving touchdowns.
The Buccaneers get another weapon in Jones to go along with what they have in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. With a 44-year-old Brady, the objective in Tampa Bay is clear: to win another championship.
After 11 seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has decided to call it quits. Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL via Instagram on Tuesday.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) June 21, 2022
The 33-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Buccaneers after spending the first nine seasons with the Patriots. After retiring in 2019, Gronkowski returned in 2020 and followed Tom Brady to Tampa Bay, where the two won their fourth Super Bowl together.
Gronkowski ended his career with 621 receptions, 9286 yards, and 92 touchdown catches. His receiving touchdowns total is tied for the third-most by a tight end in NFL history, trailing only Antonio Gates (116) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (111)
The five-time Pro Bowler was honored as one of five tight ends selected to the NFL 100 All-Time Team and one of two chosen for the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade Team for the 2010s.
Here is a statement from Buccaneers GM Jason Licht on the retirement of Gronkowski:
“Rob is a true professional who left it all on the field for us the past two seasons and helped establish a championship culture in our building. He played a crucial part in our Super Bowl LV championship season in 2020 and battled through a number of injuries last year while on the way to one of the most productive receiving yardage seasons in his 11-year career. It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game. While his on-field accomplishments will surely earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is his humble attitude and team-first approach to the game that truly defined his career.”
At the end of the 2021 season, rumors surfaced that Tom Brady may retire after 22 seasons, which he officially announced in February.
However, he changed his mind in March and decided to return. On Thursday, the Buccaneers concluded Mandatory Minicamp, and Brady discussed many things, including his return to football, the possible return of Rob Gronkowski, rumors of joining the Dolphins, his relationship with Bruce Arians, upcoming 2022 NFL season.
(On his decision to return to football for another season)
“It feels like a long time ago. A lot has happened between now and then. It was just a lot of different things. It was awhile ago. I feel like I’ve kind of moved past that point to be honest. But I’m happy I’m back with my teammates. It’s going to be a great year. We’re going to work really hard. We have high expectations for what we are trying to accomplish. We’ve got a lot of good players – it doesn’t matter much – we’ve got to go out and do it. We’ve got to go earn it. We’ve got some competitive practices coming up. I’m most excited about this team and what we can try to accomplish.”
(On how he can improve his game in 2022 from his performance in 2021)
“In a lot of different ways. I think that’s a good question and it’s a good opportunity for us to all evaluate where we are at and what we need to do better. I always feel like there are things that can be improved on in different areas. I think how I evaluate myself and my teammates is very different than how other people would.”
(On the conversation with his family when he told them he was thinking of returning to football for another season)
“I think it’s really important. I said last week or two weeks ago – it’s very easy when you’re 25 to know what you want to do the next year. It’s very challenging when you’re 43 or 44 because there is a lot of other things that are pressing and a lot of other things that are really important in your life, like your kids and your wife and different relationships. Things have always taken a back seat to football – that’s just how it has gone for me. It’s challenging and I’ve just got to work at those things. It is part of what is challenging about things that happen in my life – just different decisions are made. I have a great life and I have zero complaints about it. I just try to do the best I can do. There are other significant, very important things that happen, and I think when the football season starts, everybody knows that it is 100 percent football. It’s just the way you have to be and it’s a big commitment to make. Then in order to play every game, you have to train really hard, so I’ve got to train really hard at 44 years old, which is a big commitment. To try to make those decisions has its challenges. It’s not like it was when I was 25. I don’t think any of us feel like we did when we were 25, but thankfully for good reasons there are parts where I am happy I’m not 25. Then there are other parts where I wish I felt like I was a little more like 25. I have a very complex, tricky life in different aspects and I’m just trying to navigate it the best way I can.”
(On the potential return of TE Rob Gronkowski)
“I think it’s just, obviously, totally up to him. We’d all love to play with him, but he’s got to make the best decision for himself, and he knows that. Anybody that cares about him knows that he is doing what’s right for him, which is trying to figure it out. We don’t have training camp for about six weeks, so whatever he has to do to figure it out. I think we will be hopeful if he does. And if he doesn’t, we’ve still got to go out there and figure out what to do.”
(On if the reports suggesting he and Arians had a strained relationship bothered him)
“See, I don’t read a lot of them. There are a lot of things that aren’t right that are said. I think the thing is – you try and come out and respond to everything that is not right [but] we don’t have to be right very often. We just have to be right every so often these days. I think if people click on it, then you read more of it, and obviously they’re clicking on it, so it’s what people want and what is talked about. It may not be accurate and that’s O.K. – I don’t make every pass either. I don’t complete every pass, so I understand not everyone can get it right all of the time.”
(On his relationship with Senior Advisor to the General Manager and former Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians and if there were any ‘substantive issues’ in their relationship)
“Zero whatsoever. He and I have a great relationship. I think that’s part of why I chose here was because of Bruce. He and I have been in incredible communication, and I have great respect for him. He knows how I feel about him, and that’s the most important thing. And I know how he feels about me.”
(On if there is any truth to the reports that he was interested in joining the Miami Dolphins in any capacity)
“Again, I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people as I’ve had for the last three or four years in my career about different opportunities when I am done playing football. I kind of made a decision of what I’d like to do. I’ll get to be in the game of football. I think the most important thing is where I’m at now and what I hope to do for this team. That has been my commitment to this team and organization. It’s been so much fun [since] I came here two years ago. It’s been almost two and a half years now, and it’s been an incredible part of my football journey. It’s not over – we’ve still got a lot to accomplish. I’ve got a long life ahead and there are a lot of fun things to do ahead. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead in football. But at the same time, none of us are promised much beyond what we have now, and this is the current moment. I’m really excited about going out there and trying to compete and win a championship.”
Logan Ryan won two Super Bowls with Tom Brady in New England, and he’s hoping to do the same with Brady in 2022.
Ryan signed with the Buccaneers, the team announced Thursday.
According to reports, it’s a one-year deal.
“The number one thing about coming here was winning a championship, and that’s what I’m here to do and help with,” Ryan said Thursday. “Being a teammate of Tom [Brady], that’s what he’s about—playing football at the highest level, practicing football at the highest level. Obviously, the expectation and standard is championship, each and every year and each and every day. So I was excited to have that opportunity. That’s what I’m playing for at this point in my career, and it makes a lot of sense. This is a great organization. But, I think the championship opportunity, to go compete for that, and to have a talented roster around me [allows] me to come in and be a great teammate, do great things in the community, and win a championship.”
Tampa Bay lost safety Jordan Whitehead to the Jets in free agency, and they are hoping the 31-year-old Ryan can replace what Whitehead brought to the table. The nine-year veteran has a lot of versatility as he played both corner and safety in his career. He also a leader, and last season he was one of the team captains for the New York Giants.
“Come in and be a great player, period,” Ryan said about what he brings to the Buccaneers. “They know I’m a great teammate. Bring experience; I have some experience, in the secondary. It’s a great, young group, but I just have a little experience to me. Just be a great communicator – help shore up the communication. Some disguise is what I do well. So, some of my strong suits are just a natural fit of what they needed. But versatility is my calling card in this league – it got me 10 years here. So, whatever position that may be, that’s up to Todd Bowles to play me wherever he wants to play me.
“I’ve just got to be able to learn it all. It’s a really talented group. I knew there was an opening there when the young, talented safety (Jordan Whitehead) went to the Jets; I knew there was an opportunity there for myself to play with Mike Edwards, [Antoine] Winfield, Carlton Davis, [Sean] Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and all those guys. Like I said, I know the roster really well from watching a lot of film and hearing the recruiting pitch a couple years ago. They have a really good group back there.”
Since entering the league in 2013, Ryan’s 95 passes defensed rank sixth in the NFL. He has recorded at least eight passes defensed in eight of his nine career seasons, marking the most such seasons by any player since he entered the league.
Ryan has recorded 10.5 of his 13.0 career sacks over the past four seasons, ranking second among all NFL defensive backs in sacks since 2018, trailing only Jamal Adams (19.5). Over the last three seasons, Ryan has also developed a knack for knocking the ball loose, ranking tied for third among all defensive backs with nine forced fumbles.
Tom Brady is back; Chris Godwin is back, and now Leonard Fournette has returned.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed re-signed Fournette, the team announced Wednesday.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a three-year deal worth $21 million.
The 27-year-old Fournette returns to Tampa Bay for a third season after leading the Buccaneers in both rushing yards (812) and rushing touchdowns (eight) in 2021.
Since joining the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2020, Fournette has played in 27 regular-season games, with 16 starts, recording 277 carries for 1,179 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. He has also contributed 105 receptions for 687 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
The five-year veteran has played in and started five playoff games since joining the Buccaneers and stands as Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in both career postseason rushing yards (351) and scrimmage yards (555) while ranking second in rushing touchdowns (five), scrimmage touchdowns (six) and receptions (27).
During their run to the Super Bowl in 2020, Fournette put forth one of the best statistical playoff performances in NFL postseason history, leading the team in rushing yards (300), rushing touchdowns (three), scrimmage touches (82), scrimmage yards (448), scrimmage touchdowns (four) and receptions (18) during the 2021 NFL Playoffs.
He also became one of just three players in NFL history to record a touchdown in all four of their team’s playoff games in a single postseason, joining Larry Fitzgerald (2008) and Terrell Davis (1997). Fournette’s 448 scrimmage yards marked the most in team history for a single postseason and the ninth-most in NFL history for a single postseason.
Fournette, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, came to Tampa Bay after spending his first three NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-19).
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today re-signed cornerback Carlton Davis III.
According to Josina Anderson, it’s a three-year, $45 million deal.
In 2021, the 25-year-old Davis started all ten games in which he played for a defense that finished fifth in fewest points per game allowed (20.8) and seventh in fewest yards per play allowed (5.16). Davis did miss seven games last season due to a quad injury.
“Carlton is a fantastic player. I’ve said for a few years that I thought he was one of the top cornerbacks in this league, and he has continued to grow,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians via a statement from the team. “He’s a great tackler, excellent in man-to-man defense, a very physical corner, and has the length you want. He has everything you are looking for to be a shut-down corner. He’s also developed off the field so much, leading our social justice program and all the things he’s doing for our organization. He’s a huge, huge asset to our football team.”
According to Davis, the return of Tom Brady played a role in his decision to rejoin the Buccaneers.
“ObvIously, having Tom come back automatically makes us a contender again. Who wouldn’t want to come back and compete for another ring with the G.O.A.T? When I heard the news, it definitely played into some of my thought process going into my decision.”
Davis’ 48 passes defensed since the start of the 2019 season are the most in the NFL during that span. He is also tied for the league lead in games with multiple passes defensed (13) and has the most games with at least three passes defensed (six).
Over his four seasons with the Buccaneers, Davis has amassed 205 tackles (nine for loss), 52 passes defensed, six interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. He has also started all six of Tampa Bay’s playoff games over the past two seasons, including Super Bowl LV, recording 28 tackles and four passes defensed.
Davis has appeared in 51 regular-season games, making 50 starts, for the Buccaneers since the team selected him in the second round (No. 63 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.