TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady is locked in and focused on what could be the final training camp of his Hall of Fame career.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback will turn 45 years old on Wednesday. When he announced his return from his 40-day retirement during the offseason, he said he had “unfinished business.”
That can only mean one thing.
“I don’t think there are any excuses,” Brady said after the team’s first practice in full pads. “You either get the job done, or you don’t. There’s only one team that is happy at the end of the year. It’s the team that wins. You got to come out the next year, do everything you can to put yourself into position.”
But Brady is not looking too far ahead this preseason because things can change quickly.
“Nobody knows what the team is going to look like,” he said. “You think you have a center, and then he gets injured. So the team’s different in one day. There’s a long time between now and the first game.”
The center Brady mentioned is Ryan Jensen. He's expected to miss a significant amount of time after injuring his knee in practice last week. As for Jensen’s replacement, Brady speaks highly of second-year player Robert Hainsey.
“Obviously, everyone is heartbroken with what happened to Ryan,” Brady said. “(Hainsey) worked hard last year, really gained a lot of trust of a lot of people. He has to go earn it, like all of us. It’s not what you did, how hard you worked in the off-season. It’s how good of a football player are you.”
Brady is also working with two new veteran pass catchers in wide receiver Julio Jones and tight end Kyle Rudolph. Both players are chasing their first Super Bowl ring, and each player stated they came to Tampa to win with Brady, who has seven rings.
“Guys choose this team because of the team, not because of me,” Brady said. “We have a great organization, great teammates. I think guys are excited about joining a great group of people. It’s never about one person. That’s never what this sport is about. It’s the ultimate team sport. I love playing with players that are professional, players that want to work hard, and players that want to put the team first.”
The Bucs' first preseason game is Saturday, August 13, against Miami at Raymond James Stadium.