TAMPA, Fla. — Sunday night, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady broke the sports internet with the announcement that he's coming back for one more season in Tampa Bay.
But before making it official, he had already called center Ryan Jensen and said they should get the band back together. Jensen said he always planned on coming back to the Bucs, but he said Brady giving him a call was the "sugar on top."
"It was a crazy day. I was having a birthday party for my daughter," Jensen said Tuesday via Zoom. "Dealing with trying to negotiate, and all of sudden Tom calls me. It was a crazy day, but again, happy to be back. Happy to be with an organization that has appreciated me for the last four years and hopefully the next three."
Jensen, who could've entered free agency, agreed to a three-year deal worth $39 million to stay put. The 30-year-old was the Baltimore Ravens' sixth-round pick out of Division II Colorado St.-Pueblo in 2013. He wasn't a starter until his fifth season. Now, he's considered one of the best centers in the league, and he earned his first Pro Bowl selection last season.
"It’s crazy. It’s an amazing story. People are like 'Your story’s so good!' I’m like is it really?'" Jensen joked. "It’s just amazing what hard work and determination can bring to somebody. That’s what my career’s been. Trying to prove everybody wrong, and trying to be the best football player I can be."
Now, the current Buccaneers turn their attention to recruiting potential free agents who could hit the open market.
"Talking with Tom, it’s just like 'Let’s try and get the band back together and go out and win football games.' Tom is probably the greatest recruiter of all time," Jensen added. "So we’ll see what happens."
Tampa Bay's list of potential free agents includes tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard, and running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. On defense, , Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, and William Gholston are all eligible for free agency.
The NFL free agent and trading period begins at 4 P.M. on Wednesday.