Tom Brady is pushing back on Dana White's claim the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were not the future Hall of Famer's first choice during the 2020 free-agency period.
"I read all these different stories about all these different places I was supposed to go or could have gone. I was only going to go to one place, which was here. I think this whole organization knows that," Brady told reporters Saturday.
"All the conversations that we've had over a period of time, I chose the right place for me. And I'm very proud of the effort everyone's put in to make the relationship work. Joel [Glazer] has been amazing. Jason [Licht] is a great friend of mine. Bruce [Arians], Todd [Bowles]."
White recently said he brokered a deal in 2020 that would have brought Brady and Rob Gronkowski to the Las Vegas Raiders, only for then-Raiders coach Jon Gruden to put a halt to the agreement.
"Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn't want him and all hell broke loose, man," White said on UFC 278 with The Gronks. "It was crazy, and Brady was already looking at houses and it wasn't being said yet that Gronk was coming. So, Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except Gruden blew the deal up."
Gronkowski verified White's claim on the broadcast.
The back-and-forth also seemed to verify a long-running mystery Brady himself started during an appearance on The Shop last summer. Brady spoke at length about his foray into free agency and mentioned one team that chose to pull out late in the process and stick with its incumbent quarterback (possibly Derek Carr).
"One of the teams, and they weren't interested at the very end," Brady said. "I was thinking, 'You're sticking with that motherf--ker?'"
It's possible for Brady and White to be telling the truth here, with the UFC president perhaps embellishing how close Brady-to-Las Vegas really was. Brady is the only person who knows what direction he was leaning in free agency, so it's possible Tampa was always his first choice.