Tom Brady dismissed the idea he had anything to do with Tampa Bay’s recent acquisition of Antonio Brown, saying Monday he’s just the quarterback.
“Well, I’m the quarterback of the team, and that’s my role and responsibility,” Brady told Jim Gray as part of his weekly interview with Westwood One.
“I’m trying to do that the best way I possibly can," he added. "I do appreciate the relationship I have with [Arians] and [GM] Jason Licht. I think they know me, they know what my style is, and I have a tremendous amount of trust in them, and they’re putting the team first. They’ve gone out and done a great job getting players that help us do our job better.”
Brown, who recently came off a suspension, played one game with Brady last September for New England, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown before the receiver was released following allegations of sexual assault.
The 32-year-old receiver was signed by Tampa Bay last weekend.
While Brown was a rumored target of Brady’s this offseason, coach Bruce Arians appeared to make it clear the Buccaneers weren’t interested in the receiver.
“Yeah, it’s not gonna happen,” Arians told CBS Radio in March when asked about the possibility of Brown landing in Tampa Bay. “There’s no room. And probably not enough money. But it’s not gonna happen — it’s not a fit here.”
On Sunday, Arians was singing a different tune, saying Brown deserved another shot, while adding that the Bucs have faced some injuries on offense.
“I think he’s matured, and I believe in second chances,” Arians told reporters Sunday who asked about Brown. “Everybody wants to say that Tom picked him. Tom didn’t have anything to do with it. This was something Jason [Licht] and I had been talking [about] for a couple weeks, ever since the injuries to our other guys. When the time was right, would we see if we could pull the trigger and fit him in to what we want to get done? And we’ll see.
"If Antonio does what I think he’s going to do, I think he’s going to be fine.”
Brady also said he felt like he wasn’t putting his reputation on the line when it came to possibly serving as an advocate for Brown, who has run afoul of the law and the league on several occasions.
“No, he’s his own individual,” Brady said.
“Everybody has the opportunity in life, and again, I’m just happy that he’s got another opportunity to play in the NFL,. It’s a great league," Brady said. "I love playing football, I know he does too. He’s joining a group of [receivers] who are extremely hard-working, extremely selfless.”
Brown is joining a high-octane offense, one that’s averaging 31.7 points per game — third-best in the NFL heading into Monday’s action.
“Certainly, I’m happy for Antonio to get an opportunity to resume his career,” Brady said. "He’s put a lot of time and energy into working on a lot of things in his life, and I know he’s excited to play football. So everyone’s going to earn a role on our team, and I know that’s his mind-set, too.
“I think the receiver position is really a position of strength on our offense, and how Antonio fits into that is going to be up to him and the role that he can create for himself which is .. .which we all know of what he’s capable of when he’s playing.”
Christopher Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.