TAMPA, Fla. — Byron "Bo" Kennedy said the calls started coming in moments after he held onto, and then gave back, one of the most valuable pieces of football history.
"It's been hectic, to say the least," Kennedy said, not even 24 hours after going viral. "I've been fielding calls from everybody and their mother all day."
His name was trending all of Sunday night and into Monday morning on social media. Some bashing him, others heaping praise.
Kennedy, the 29-year-old St. Pete High grad, UCF alum and Internal Medicine resident at Largo Medical Center, is, of course, the man who handed over Tom Brady's milestone 600th touchdown ball minutes after Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans leaped into the stands and gave it to him by mistake after scoring.
Brady became the only NFL quarterback ever to reach 600 career touchdown passes.
"Mike and I were on the exact same page," Kennedy said. "No idea that was the 600th touchdown."
Kennedy, donning Evans' number 13 jersey, didn't realize he had one of the most coveted footballs ever until other people in the stands started telling him about the significance of the ball in his hands.
A Buccaneers staffer approached Kennedy and asked him for the ball back. Initially, Kennedy didn't want to give it up.
"I said 'no, I want to keep this,'" Kennedy recalled. "I might not have even realized at that point what this football was. I said 'no, I really want to keep this. I've never had a football before.' He said 'we can get you a different ball,' and this and that, but then he said 'Tom really wants that football back.'"
A deal was reached for turning over the ball. Initially, Kennedy said he was given a replacement game ball, a $1,000 team store gift card and a promise that more was to come.
The Buccaneers eventually settled on two signed jerseys and a helmet from Tom Brady, a signed Mike Evans jersey and game-worn cleats, two season passes for the rest of this season and the 2022 season as well, in addition to the $1,000 gift card.
Tom Brady also said on ESPN's Monday Night Football "Manning Cast" that he's gifting Kennedy one bitcoin, which is valued at nearly $62,000.
Still, Kennedy took some heat all over the world for coughing up what's valued to be at least a $500,000 football, according to Jordan Gilroy, who works at Lelands Auctions. Kennedy said he wasn't going to sell it regardless.
"I knew it would be valuable, but not half a million dollars," Kennedy said. "Either way, if I'd have kept the ball, I wasn't going to sell it...I wasn't going to make any money off of it...Tom is the one who earned the ball. I just happened to be here and got lucky."
Kennedy, a life-long Buccaneers fan, hasn't let the social media bashing get to him. He's honestly enjoying the notoriety, even if he's now infamous.
"I saw on an Instagram post from NFL Network that [Green Bay Packers running back] Aaron Jones commented, 'that guy just gave away a lottery ticket.' It's cool that Aaron Jones is someone who at least knows who my face is right now...I'm getting it from everywhere right now," Kennedy said.
The swag has been nice, Kennedy said, but he does have one more request of Brady.
"I'm hoping I get to play a round of golf with him later," he said. "I came straight from the golf course to the game [on Sunday]. I watched him on the celebrity pro-am last year. I think it'd be a lot of fun...it's probably pretty farfetched, but it would be pretty cool if it could happen.
"Season tickets would be really cool. I'll be happy with just about anything."
Well, Bo got one of the two, at least. We'll see if Brady delivers on the tee time.