Bowles: Bucs expects Brady back early this week

Bowles: Bucs expects Brady back early this week

TAMPA, Fla. — Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is expected to return to the team this week, coach Todd Bowles announced Sunday. Bowles didn’t give a specific date, but said, “It will be this week, early.”

Brady has been away from the team since August 11 to take care of what is being described as “personal stuff.” Bowles said it was agreed on weeks ago and that the team supported Brady, who has kept in touch with the coaching staff during his absence.

Bowles said a decision has not yet been made about whether Brady will play in this week’s third and final preseason game with the Indianapolis Colts.

“Not yet. We’ll see how training goes and we’ll make those decisions at the end of the week,” Bowles said.

In the past, teams have used the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the starters, although the preseason as a whole has waned in importance in recent years, mainly because coaches feel the risk of injury is too great and they want backups as much as possible. possible playing time. The Buccaneers’ focus this preseason has been to give sophomore quarterback Kyle Trask as many reps as possible.

Several starters and high profile Bucs players have not entered the preseason this year due to injury, the need to gauge depth or not to run undue risk. Those players include wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, right tackle Tristan Wirfs, left tackle Donovan Smith, right guard Shaq Mason, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, cornerback Carlton Davis III and safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

In addition to his current absence, Brady missed four days at camp in late July and early August. He’s had days off in the past, but this is the first time in 23 years that he’s taken a significant amount of time away from the team during training camp or pre-season. He missed OTAs when he was with the New England Patriots in 2018 to spend more time with his family, but those drills are optional and take place in the spring, long before the regular season starts.

All of Brady’s absences from the Bucs in 2022 have been approved by the team, although it’s highly unusual for NFL teams to grant that kind of flexibility.

Brady finds himself in a challenging situation. Not only has Ryan Jensen been sidelined at Pro Bowl center for a significant period due to a knee injury, but the Bucs lost left guard Aaron Stinnie, battling for a starting role, to a torn ACL/MCL on Saturday night. Evans also still has a hamstring injury and Godwin is still recovering from an ACL injury, although he is making progress and is now taking part in some 7-on-7 work.

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