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Bruce Arians: Tom Brady’s personal life impacted ’22 Bucs

Tom Brady dealt with an in-season divorce and other distractions that factored into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finishing 8-9 last season, Bruce Arians said on Friday.

Arians said in an interview with Rich Eisen of NFL Network that Brady’s second retirement likely is for good after watching him navigate a reversal of his February 2022 announcement. Brady came back to the Buccaneers 40 days after announcing his first retirement, which the New York Post reported was the driving factor in his divorce from his wife Gisele Bundchen. Their divorce became final in October.

“The injuries to our leaders was really, really hard,” said Arians, who held the role of a senior consultant with the Buccaneers last season but was Brady’s head coach for the previous two years.

“Tom wasn’t himself, you know, with all the things that were going on. And I got to give him all the credit in the world for battling through what he went through last year for his teammates. I think the world of him but it wasn’t the real Tom Brady out there.”

Arians said he believes the Buccaneers should ride with Kyle Trask at quarterback, while also investigating other options. It’s the same approach he suggested to general manager Jason Licht in 2020, when the team was in contact with incumbent starter Jameis Winston while also pursuing conversations with Brady and then-New Orleans Saints free agent Drew Brees.

“I think we’re in good hands with Kyle Trask,” Arians said. “I love Kyle, he’s been there two years now. Blaine Gabbert was a great mentor for him. But just like three years ago, you’ve got to search what’s behind door No. 2. Three years ago, we never would’ve guessed Tom Brady was behind door No. 2. So you do your research, you do all your homework, and then you decide what’s best for you. But right now, I’m very comfortable if Kyle’s our guy.

“… And he’s worked extremely hard every single day. He’s got all the size, he’s got the arm, he’s got the stature of what we like.”

Arians is extremely confident Brady is not behind any of the doors the Buccaneers will encounter in free agency this time around.

“He’s spent a lot of time with his kids and just heading to the next chapter. He’s got so many things going on, you know, he’s one busy dude,” Arians said.

–Field Level Media


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