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Tom Brady
NFL

Buccaneers ‘Leaving The Light On’ For Tom Brady Return

  • Carmen Vitali
  • March 2, 2022
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to evaluate options under center, but they haven’t given up on the possibility that quarterback Tom Brady’s retirement will be short-lived. Never say never is something that rings especially true in the topsy-turvy NFL. And though the 44-year-old Brady pulled the plug on his two-decade-long career last month, the Buccaneers aren’t ready to cut the power supply just yet. “That door’s never closed,” said Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians. “Whenever Tom wants back, he’s back.” Well. Not only did we get a ‘never’ there, but we got a ‘whenever’ on top of that. It certainly sounds like Brady returning is still in play in the minds of Buccaneers management. “I think with a Tom Brady, I personally never want to completely close the door,” said Licht. “Now I don't have any information that suggests that he is going to come back. I mean, I'm very good friends with him. We haven't talked about that. I don't want to apply any pressure. But in that regard right now, he's Tom Brady and if a Tom Brady wants to come back, we welcome him back. “I just made a remark this morning that we’ll leave the light on for him.” Licht has a relationship with Brady dating back to his own time with the New England Patriots, while Licht was on the scouting staff that drafted the former Michigan Wolverine at that infamous pick No. 199. Whether that would sway Licht in his dealings with Brady remains unclear. Arians, on the other hand, might as well be Waterford Crystal. Asked if he would be willing to let Brady out of his contract if the quarterback wanted to return, yet play for another team, Arians, without hesitation, said, “No.” After two years, a countless amount of collaboration, and a Lombardi Trophy, there’s no soft spot for the GOAT? “No,” said Arians. “[It’s] bad business.” That being said, every businessman has a price. The price for Brady though, according to Arians, that’s pretty steep. “Five numbers ones? …maybe.” Every businessman also has contingency plans, which both Arians and Licht have continued to evaluate. Those options under center include both veteran backup Blaine Gabbert and 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask. Gabbert has yet to be re-signed for 2022 but all signs point to the Buccaneers doing just that. Gabbert possesses an expert-level of knowledge within Arians’ offense. And though the Buccaneers have a newfound appreciation for leadership qualities within a signal-caller given his predecessor, Arians has faith that Gabbert could assume that role relatively seamlessly. “I think he's got all the respect in the locker room,” Arians said. “You know, they saw him help Tom. And he's helped each and every one of those guys on offense, and some on defense. He's got a great relationship in that locker room. And I think they also see what Kyle can do and what he's got going forward.” Yeah, in case things don’t quite work with Gabbert, the Buccaneers have another built-in backup plan already on the roster. “We drafted Kyle Trask number two for a reason,” said Arians. “He fits everything we want to do as a quarterback and I really like what I saw for a year so I doubt drafting is an option.” The free-agent market isn’t much different either, according to Arians. With a finite number of resources there, it seems the Buccaneers will more likely than not rely on an in-house solution should ‘The Comeback Kid’ not actually make a comeback. “We’ll play golf but if I beat him, he has to come back,” said Arians. Anyone know Bruce’s handicap?