TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady was often guarded in media sessions during his 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, he has seemed more at ease with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — especially during the off-season from tossing the Lombardi Trophy to cracking jokes next to the President.
“It’s nice, I’ve found my voice more,” Brady said. “I really enjoy being around my teammates, my coaches. It’s been a different environment. I just really enjoy the experience of playing football, playing with this group of guys.”
“I think Tom is very, very comfortable in our locker room and with our coaches and our fans,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. “I think that his personality is showing more and more. I love seeing it.”
Brady’s teammates have always seen this lighter side, but now we’re all treated to the TB12 show.
“I don’t know what y’all paint him as,” Bucs offensive lineman Donovan Smith said. “You think he’s an alien or something? He has a sense of humor. He is human. I don’t know what y’all want me to say. He likes to have fun.”
“Tom is a great guy, a fun guy to be around,” Bucs wide receiver Scotty Miller said. “It’s probably tougher for him. He’s around a bunch of 20-year-old kids. He’s almost like our dad, you know. He’s great, he’s fun to hang out with, but at the same time, as you guys see, he takes this very seriously. It’s all about winning. we are not going to have fun if we are not winning.”
There are many reasons why Brady could have failed last year — switching teams at 43 years old during a pandemic, no preseason, new teammates. Instead, he took a Tampa Bay franchise that has been mostly awful through its history and led it to a Super Bowl championship.
Now, the Bucs look to become the first team to win go back-to-back titles since Brady and the Patriots did it in 2004-2005.
“We tasted it,” Smith said. “I don’t want to wipe that taste out of my mouth anytime soon. I want to get back there. You use it to fuel yourself to get back there. You know what you got to do, you know what it takes to get there. Stay true to yourself all season.”
“You got to find ways to throw it in the back of your mind,” Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “This is a whole new season. We have a target on our back. We have to find ways to get better.”
The Bucs open the season on Sept. 9 at home against the Dallas Cowboys.