Tom Brady isn’t letting the coronavirus pandemic — or NFL rules against players working out at team facilities — keep him from preparing for a new season with his new Tampa Bay team.
Brady gathered some of his Buccaneers teammates on a high school field early Tuesday for a throwing session. Brady wore a Buccaneers helmet and an orange jersey over his shoulder pads. The informal, players-only workout at Berkeley Preparatory School lasted two hours, according to local media.
It’s not unusual for quarterbacks to organise passing workouts before training camp, but the pandemic has changed normal routines. Teams have had to rely on virtual meetings instead of traditional offseason programs as the NFL tries to make plans for a 2020 season, possibly without fans at stadiums.
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Because of the pandemic, which has forced social distancing and sheltering at home as the new rules, any gathering of players is notable — especially one involving Brady, a six-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. Brady, 42, signed a two-year, $50million contract with the Bucs in March.
After signing with the Bucs, Brady asked for phone numbers of his teammates. He apparently made use of that list to organise Tuesday’s workout.
It was an encouraging sign for fans on the same day NFL teams began opening facilities to a limited number of personnel. The facilities are still off-limits for coaches and players, except for players undergoing injury rehabilitation.
Centre Ryan Jensen practiced shotgun snaps to Brady on the artificial turf football field.
Though he’s the newcomer, Brady was in charge, according to the reports. Brady walked through a route with receiver Mike Evans, demonstrating for the veteran and other players exactly where to make their cuts.
Quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin also threw passes.
Among other players attending the session were receiver Scotty Miller, tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard and running back Dare Ogunbowale.
Teams cannot organise such workouts, and the Buccaneers did not publicize Tuesday’s session. The Associated Press approached the team for comment on the workout.
The gathering, of eight people, was under the limit of 10 imposed by state authorities during the pandemic.
Tuesday’s session went better than Brady’s attempt to work out privately at a Tampa park last month. After he was told by a security guard that the park was closed and he had to leave, Brady received an apology from Mayor Jane Castor.