Brandin Echols says Tom Brady autograph ‘bigger deal than it was supposed to be’

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  • New York Jets
    New York Jets
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  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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  • Tom Brady
    Tom Brady
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  • Brandin Echols
    Brandin Echols
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Jets' Brandin Echols interception against Bucs in 2021-22 season
Jets' Brandin Echols interception against Bucs in 2021-22 season

One of the bigger news items from the Jets’ near-upset of the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday came after the game when cornerback Brandin Echols approached Tom Brady to sign a game ball.

But this wasn’t just any game ball. In the final minute of the first half, Echols picked off Brady after a miscommunication with receiver Mike Evans. That same ball was handed to Brady who graciously signed it for the rookie.

The scene captured on live television immediately garnered attention on social media and was a leading story. And for the 24-year-old out of the University Kentucky, the attention was a surprise.

“I thought it was the same thing like getting the jersey swapped,” Echols said following Thursday’s practice. “But people made it a bigger deal than it was supposed to be. It didn’t mean nothing to me because I’m just going out doing what I’m doing every week. It’s good to just relax and live your childhood dream for once.”

Earlier this week, head coach Robert Saleh called the move “ballsy” and understood why his young corner did what he did, but Echols realized that he probably could have done it differently.

“It most definitely could have been another way to get that done. I was just excited to pick off Tom Brady,” Echols said. “ I’ve been watching him since I started realizing what football was. It was a big moment for me and I was caught up in the moment. And I felt I needed to do it right there.

“Throughout the week I already had it in my head, ‘I’m going to get a pick against Tom Brady’ so when it happened I wanted to get it signed. I spoke it to existence,” Echols added.

The sixth-round pick told the media that Brady told him “good job” and to “keep doing what you’re doing” during their post-game meeting on the field, but Sunday’s chance encounter may be the last of its kind.


“What a nice guy. Young player, it’s actually kind of flattering. It’s not often I sign an interception ball, too — I think that’s the first time,” Brady said of the occurrence on Tuesday’s episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray.

“I don’t necessarily like signing mistakes, let me just say that. So that’s the last time I’m going to do that. I know it’s the season of giving—I don’t plan on giving any more gifts to people. It’s much better to receive than give from my standpoint as a quarterback.”

When asked about Brady’s comments and what it means for his now-trophy, Echols said with a smile, “one of one, that’s how I see it.”

Echols and the Jets will finish their 2021-22 season against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.