NFL: AUG 06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp

Bucs bungled Tom Brady’s training-camp hiatus

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The sudden news that Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will be gone from the team for at least 10 days apparently wasn’t news to the Buccaneers. The fact that the team kept it secret until it was time for Brady to leave camp for a week and a half have raised questions about whether the team should have handled it differently.

Plenty of fans, doing what fans do, insist that it’s a non-issue. If the team doesn’t care, why should we or anyone else? Balanced against the inclination to say there’s nothing to see here are the folks whose job it is to see everything, and to write about it.

Joey Knight, who covers the Buccaneers for the Tampa Bay Times, raised this question on Twitter: “If it was planned for a while, why didn’t they tell us that on Day 1 of camp? (‘Hey folks, just a heads up that Tom will miss some time during camp…’). That so easily could’ve dispelled the (warranted) speculation now occurring.”

That’s the problem. The way it was handled invites curiosity. Which results in speculation. As the situation has been explained by the team, it can be anything from a scheduled family surgical procedure to a mid-camp vacation.

Regardless, it’s unprecedented. (Then again, at this point for the 45-year-old Brady, everything is unprecedented.)

There’s also a question about whether his teammates knew he’d be leaving camp. Even with Brady being Brady, human beings will be human beings — and those left to do the real work will feel some resentment to anyone who isn’t pulling an oar next to everyone else.

It’s just strange. It’s odd. When has this ever happened before? And how can anyone say Brady is all in with the Bucs if his absence arises from anything other than an absolutely unavoidable personal situation?

We don’t know what it is, because no one is getting specific about it. And that’s fair. It’s Brady’s right to keep his personal matters private. But it’s the job of those of us who track the comings and goings of NFL players to wonder whether it will impact his professional status.


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