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Shortly after winning Super Bowl 55 and celebrating his seventh championship with an alcohol-fueled boat parade in Tampa, Tom Brady contracted COVID-19.

The longtime Patriots quarterback confirmed the news to the Tampa Bay Times, as part of the paper’s coverage of the Buccaneers’ 100 percent vaccination rate among players, coaches, and team personnel. That includes Brady, who told the paper he thinks coronavirus will play a bigger role in the league this year than it did in 2020.

“I think it’s going to be challenging this year. . . . Just because of the way what we’re doing now and what the stadium is going to look like and what the travel is going to look like and the people in the building and the fans,” Brady said. “It’s going to be, I definitely think guys are going to be out at different points and we’ve just got to deal with it.”


Tampa, the story notes, has already placed four players on its reserve/COVID list despite its full vaccination status.

The NFL conducted nearly 1 million coronavirus tests last season, including daily tests during the regular season. There were games played with significant virus-forced absences, Denver at one point playing without its top four quarterbacks, but the full schedule was played with just five postponements due to COVID infections.

Nineteen teams allowed fans into games.