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Brady addresses offseason rumors, ready for potential last ride with Buccaneers

For the first time since walking off the field after Tampa Bay's postseason loss to the Rams, Tom Brady talks with the local media to discuss a wild few months.

TAMPA, Fla. — It has been a long time since the Tampa media has had the ability to ask Tom Brady questions. The last time we saw him was when he was walking out of the press conference room at Raymond James Stadium after the tough defeat to Los Angeles in the playoffs.

Since then he:

- Retired

- Unretired

- Had rumors linking him to the Dolphins organization

- Had rumors linking him to significant issues with former head coach Bruce Arians

- Signs a mega-deal with FOX to be their new broadcaster when the season is over

- Finished his final Man in the Arena Episode

There was no way to tackle all of these topics in the 12-minute interview, but here are some of the answers to important questions you should know.

On his decision to return to football for another season:

“It feels like a long time ago. A lot has happened between now and then. It was just a lot of different things. It was awhile ago. I feel like I’ve kind of moved past that point to be honest. But I’m happy I’m back with my teammates. It’s going to be a great year. We’re going to work really hard. We have high expectations for what we are trying to accomplish. We’ve got a lot of good players – it doesn’t matter much – we’ve got to go out and do it. We’ve got to go earn it. We’ve got some competitive practices coming up. I’m most excited about this team and what we can try to accomplish.”

On the potential return of TE Rob Gronkowski:

“I think it’s just, obviously, totally up to him. We’d all love to play with him, but he’s got to make the best decision for himself, and he knows that. Anybody that cares about him knows that he is doing what’s right for him, which is trying to figure it out. We don’t have training camp for about six weeks, so whatever he has to do to figure it out. I think we will be hopeful if he does. And if he doesn’t, we’ve still got to go out there and figure out what to do.”

On his relationship with Senior Advisor to the General Manager and former Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians and if there were any ‘substantive issues’ in their relationship:

“Zero whatsoever. He and I have a great relationship. I think that’s part of why I chose here was because of Bruce. He and I have been in incredible communication, and I have great respect for him. He knows how I feel about him, and that’s the most important thing. And I know how he feels about me. See, I don’t read a lot of (the rumors). There are a lot of things that aren’t right that are said. I think the thing is – you try and come out and respond to everything that is not right [but] we don’t have to be right very often. We just have to be right every so often these days. I think if people click on it, then you read more of it, and obviously they’re clicking on it, so it’s what people want and what is talked about. It may not be accurate and that’s OK – I don’t make every pass either. I don’t complete every pass, so I understand not everyone can get it right all of the time.”

On the conversation with his family when he told them he was thinking of returning to football for another season:

“I think it’s really important. I said last week or two weeks ago – it’s very easy when you’re 25 to know what you want to do the next year. It’s very challenging when you’re 43 or 44 because there is a lot of other things that are pressing and a lot of other things that are really important in your life, like your kids and your wife and different relationships. Things have always taken a back seat to football – that’s just how it has gone for me. It’s challenging and I’ve just got to work at those things. It is part of what is challenging about things that happen in my life – just different decisions are made. I have a great life and I have zero complaints about it. I just try to do the best I can do. There are other significant, very important things that happen, and I think when the football season starts, everybody knows that it is 100 percent football. It’s just the way you have to be and it’s a big commitment to make. Then in order to play every game, you have to train really hard, so I’ve got to train really hard at 44 years old, which is a big commitment. To try to make those decisions has its challenges. It’s not like it was when I was 25. I don’t think any of us feel like we did when we were 25, but thankfully for good reasons there are parts where I am happy I’m not 25. Then there are other parts where I wish I felt like I was a little more like 25. I have a very complex, tricky life in different aspects and I’m just trying to navigate it the best way I can.”

On what needs to happen to get WR Russell Gage Jr. up to speed on the offense and to build chemistry with him:

“A lot of work. A lot of work. He has to have a big year. We signed him to a contract and he has to come in and do a great job. In the time I’ve spent with him, I really enjoy it and I think he has a great opportunity. That is a very important role for an offense that throws the ball as much as we do. We have very favorable passing conditions. You need a lot of good receivers. We have depth at receiver – obviously, Mike [Evans] is a great player. Chris [Godwin] is coming off a pretty significant injury, so Russell has to do a great job. And Scotty [Miller], ‘BP’ (Breshad Perriman), Cyril [Grayson Jr.], Jaelon [Darden], Tyler [Johnson] – all those guys who have experience and have played, they have to do a great job too. It’s a very competitive room. I think Russ, when he is out there, there is a lot of work that needs to go into the next six weeks to be ready. We’re challenged right out of the box this year. We’ve got really good teams [on our schedule]. We’ve got to have a great training camp. We know when training camp is – it’s the 23rd of July (for quarterbacks). We know we’ve got six weeks of training camp, but I feel like it starts [now]. Obviously, the season has already started – you are competing every day out there. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. You’re not going out there just to break a sweat, you are going out there to get things done. I think this should be, in my opinion, our best opportunity to play our best football because we’ve been together the longest. Why shouldn’t it be? We know each other, we know the scheme, we’ve been through a lot of challenging circumstances in games and now we’ve got to go out there and execute it as well as we possibly can.”

On if there is any truth to the reports that he was interested in joining the Miami Dolphins, in any capacity:

“Again, I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people as I’ve had for the last three or four years in my career about different opportunities when I am done playing football. I kind of made a decision of what I’d like to do. I’ll get to be in the game of football. I think the most important thing is where I’m at now and what I hope to do for this team. That has been my commitment to this team and organization. It’s been so much fun [since] I came here two years ago. It’s been almost two and a half years now, and it’s been an incredible part of my football journey. It’s not over – we’ve still got a lot to accomplish. I’ve got a long life ahead and there are a lot of fun things to do ahead. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead in football. But at the same time, none of us are promised much beyond what we have now, and this is the current moment. I’m really excited about going out there and trying to compete and win a championship.”

On Head Coach Todd Bowles saying they see the game the same way, and how things will change with Bowles’ leadership:

“We have a great relationship. Obviously, I played against him for a long time too. He is very detailed, a very tough, hard-nosed coach – a little bit of a throwback. You coach in New York and that toughens you up a lot. You coach with B.A. (Bruce Arians) for a long time and you coach with [Bill] Parcells – you get toughened up. I think he believes in a certain style of play, which is reflected in the way our defense performs. I think we’ve got to go play great complementary football between what they do defensively and what we need to do offensively, and how the kicking game relates to that. There has been a lot of competition throughout OTAs and through training camp. I’ve always loved Todd as a coach, even when he was coaching against me. I always had a lot of respect for him because every game we played against him, we had to go earn it. It was some new scheme and new design. It was nothing simple. That’s tough for a quarterback. If you can have that ball in that quarterback’s hands and you can make him question what he is doing with the ball, I think you are doing a good job. I think Todd has done a great job of that over the years.”

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