While he won’t be the one structuring the deal, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians could see Tom Brady returning to the team beyond his current contract.
Asked Thursday about whether the Buccaneers have already spoken to Brady about an extension, Arians said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Brady does re-sign but acknowledged he doesn’t have a role in the negotiation process.
“I don’t have anything to do with contracts,” Arians said. “That’ll have to be a [general manager] Jason [Licht] question. I think Tom’s real happy where he’s at.”
Brady, who turns 44 in August, signed a two-year, $50 million deal with the Buccaneers in March. He has since made it clear he is interested in extending his career, sharing the other day that he would “definitely consider” playing beyond 45, the age he had been using as a potential retirement benchmark.
Throughout the week, Brady has also touched on his plans for the offseason, and he sounds eager to get to work.
“You can’t ever think that you’re satisfied,” he said Thursday. “You have to continue to build and grow and learn and evolve. Some things are going to challenge you, but you’ve got to fight through those things. From my standpoint, there’s always room for improvement.”
So, what’s one area of focus for him?
Brady, never known for his mobility, is hoping to boost his quickness for Year 22.
“I’m going to work on my speed this offseason,” he said. “I see all these guys running around, I’ve got to make a few of those plays. I’ve already started thinking about how I’m going to train. I would say that’s the one thing I always want to keep working on.”
Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown was a full participant in Thursday’s practice, improving his chances of playing in Sunday’s game. Brown, who had been limited in practice, has been recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of the NFC Championship game against the Packers.
Tampa Bay’s starting safeties, Jordan Whitehead and Antoine Winfield Jr., remained limited in practice, and their availability is in question. Arians said both players “ran around pretty good,” and the team will monitor their swelling on Friday.
Also limited for the Buccaneers on Thursday were tight end Cameron Brate (back), linebacker Lavonte David (hamstring), and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (knee). Defensive lineman Steve McLendon did not participate because of a non-injury-related reason.
For the Chiefs, tackle Eric Fisher (Achilles’) and linebacker Willie Gay (knee/ankle) were the two non-participants, while running back Le’Veon Bell (knee) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) were limited.
Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and center Daniel Kilgore, who were both placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, were not present for practice.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he’ll be rooting for Brady on Sunday. Said Kraft in an interview with “CBS News Sunday Morning”: “I’m so excited. We’ve had some great communications and he is such a special human being. We were privileged to have him here for two decades, and he’s one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met.” . . . If you’re wondering what time Brady has been arriving at the training facility this week, the answer is 6:15 a.m. He said a few coaches typically beat him in . . . Though Brady has managed to keep the TB12 tradition alive in Tampa, he didn’t come to his new team with an intention to acquire his famed jersey number. When Brady first signed with the Buccaneers, No. 12 belonged to wide receiver Chris Godwin. Brady figured he would take No. 7 instead. Why? Well, his next Super Bowl ring would be his seventh. Godwin willingly ended up offering him No. 12, so it turns out Brady may get both.
Nicole Yang can be reached at email@example.com.