Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has been away from the team while dealing with a personal matter, and it appears that his return is far from imminent.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles told reporters he expects Brady to be back at some point after the team's second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, but he wouldn't commit to an official date.
"We'll see," Bowles said. "We'll talk about it next week. Not concerned about it right now. We're trying to practice against Tennessee and play a game. I said 'sometime after Tennessee.' There's no definitive date for me. But we'll check on it, we'll keep in touch and we'll find out."
Bowles announced Aug. 11 that Brady would be away from the team for "personal reasons." The absence was reportedly planned prior to training camp. Despite the vagueness regarding what caused his hiatus, Brady is "fine" and the Bucs are "on board with his reasons for being absent," per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Bowles said Thursday that he has kept in contact with Brady and he's "confident" the 45-year-old will be starting under center for the regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11.
Brady is entering his 23rd NFL season and third in Tampa. It appears he has only gotten better with age. In 2021, Brady led the league with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns. He finished with a 67.5 completion percentage and set career highs in completions (485) and attempts (719).
While Brady should have no problem getting up to speed when he returns, the time away could cause some chemistry concerns. Tampa Bay retained most of its core on offense but added new faces in receivers Julio Jones and Russell Gage. Second-year center Robert Hainsey was thrust into the starting role after Ryan Jensen's devastating knee injury.
Still, Bowles indicated Thursday that the team is not concerned about Brady reintegrating himself into the offense when he makes his way back.