When someone fully and completely embraces public life, there really are no personal issues. That dynamic becomes abundantly clear with Buccaneer’s quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady, who has fully embraced and cultivated a platform that has led to the aggressive pursuit of multiple corporate interests, has plunged his football career into mystery with an unprecedented hiatus from a training camp. Brady has been absent for a whole week for personal reasons. The end doesn’t seem in sight yet. Beyond a report by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times While the situation has nothing to do with Brady’s or his family’s health, there has been no announcement or coverage as to why he is gone.
The lack of information invites much speculation. That’s part of the price of not just getting famous, but basking in it and taking advantage of it. When an athlete, artist, or other celebrity commands the public’s attention, it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to look away if something out of the ordinary happens.
As for Brady, there’s a natural curiosity about why he’s gone, how long he’ll be gone, and if he’ll ever come back. The poor handling of the situation by the team has not made it any better. Last week they insisted that everything was planned. Thursday’s comments from coach Todd Bowles, who said there is no specific date for Brady’s return, undermine the idea that it was all planned.
“So I need some free time during the training camp. From August 11.”
“When are you coming back?”
No, it feels like this wasn’t planned. Also, the absences did not begin on August 11. He missed his birthday (August 3) on a supposedly scheduled day off. He missed Thursday August 4 and Friday August 5 due to personal reasons. After that, he practiced four more times before starting his break halfway through camp.
Is he in doubt about playing in 2022? Has Father Time finally caught up with him?
We know he tried to retire from the Buccaneers, not the NFL. We know he wanted to play for the Dolphins, with Sean Payton as head coach. We know he didn’t retire when he did, because the Bucs were about to lose players like center Ryan Jensen to free agency, and were about to make other plans at quarterback. We assumed a coaching change was enough to satisfy Brady. (Anyway, we know he wasn’t bothered by Bruce Arians running away 17 days after Brady returned.)
But what if returning to the team he thought he was leaving behind just doesn’t work? What if his heart really isn’t in it? With the opportunity to make $37.5 million from Fox this year instead of making much less playing football, wouldn’t it be tempting to just call it a day as a player and raise the curtain as an announcer?
Yes, many people are counting on him choosing to keep playing. But if he can’t be completely and completely committed, it won’t help anyone for him to force it.
Then there’s the fact that all this happened after the league announced on August 2 that the Dolphins had extensively tampered with Brady in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, trying to get him to Miami. While it’s unclear how or why that revelation could cause a personal problem requiring a three-day break followed a few days later by a much longer one, there’s no denying the timeline.
Before the dolphin tampering came to light, Brady’s status was not in question. Since then he has missed a lot of time.
It’s possible there’s a good explanation for it, aside from the prospect of Brady deciding to move on. Either way, the circumstances create a vacuum of information that must necessarily be filled by something. If there is no proof, it becomes only speculation. And the situation just invites more, not less, over time.
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