Tom Brady Says Players Join Bucs 'Because of the Team, Not Because of Me'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2022

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 23: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks for an open receiver during the NFC Divisional game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 23, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Legendary quarterback Tom Brady rejects the notion that players choose to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply because of his presence.

According to ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith, Brady expressed his belief that it is the entire package presented by the Buccaneers organization that appeals to free agents, saying:

"Naturally, I'm an older player, and I've been very fortunate to know a lot of guys. 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, a great group of men. It's never about one person. That isn't ever 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 put the team first."

The most recent example of a big-name player choosing the Bucs occurred last week when potential future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones signed a one-year deal with Tampa.

Whether Jones' decision was based solely on Brady or the entire package, there is no question that Brady has made the Buccaneers a far more desirable destination.

Prior to Brady's arrival in 2020, the Bucs had missed the playoffs in 12 straight seasons and hadn't had a winning record since 2016.

Brady changed that immediately, leading Tampa to an 11-5 record and a Super Bowl win in his first season at the helm. That marked the seventh Super Bowl win of Brady's career when combined with the six he won as a member of the New England Patriots.

Last season, the Bucs won the NFC South with a 13-4 mark and returned to the playoffs, but they fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round.

Brady announced his retirement after the season, but that only lasted for about a month before he announced he was returning for a 23rd NFL season at the age of 45.

While observers have long assumed that Brady will drop off eventually, that hasn't been the case, as he continues to perform at an elite, MVP-caliber level.

Last season, Brady enjoyed one of the best statistical campaigns of his career, completing 67.5 percent of his passes for a league-leading 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Given that level of performance, there is little doubt that players are drawn to the Buccaneers because of him, especially when it comes to skill-position players like Jones.

Even after tight end Rob Gronkowski retired for a second time, Brady will have an embarrassment of riches at his disposal in 2022 with wideouts Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage and Jones, as well as tight end Cameron Brate and running back Leonard Fournette.

Brady also has the benefit of a top offensive line and a strong defense, and there is no question that his play had a significant hand in helping the Bucs put together arguably the best overall roster in the NFL.