Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss if the GOAT is truly focused on what looks like it will be his last season. First, Brady retired for 40 days, only to return to the Buccaneers. Then he left training camp for eleven days. Is Tom Terrific really ready for the grind of another season? Or was the training camp break exactly what he needed to focus on nothing but football for the next several months? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
FRANK SCHWAB: We had a guy retire for 40 days, and he--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.
FRANK SCHWAB: --comes back. We had a guy leave training camp for 11 days. Is it possible that we're just ignoring some warning signs of maybe Brady isn't totally all in?
CHARLES ROBINSON: OK.
FRANK SCHWAB: And yet you say, you're being crazy, Frank. Not the first time you told me that. It won't be the last.
But I do have it in the back of my head of the history in the NFL, 45-year-old quarterbacks-- I don't know if you know this-- there's only one guy who's ever thrown a pass at 45 or older. It was George Blanda. He had 116 yards total.
We are in such weird, unprecedented times with Tom Brady, where if he lets his focus slip just a little bit-- and taking 11 days off during training camp is not a normal thing. This is a little weird. 40 days retired was weird. Are we not focusing on this enough as maybe a possible warning sign of maybe this last year for Tom Brady isn't going to work out like we think it will?
CHARLES ROBINSON: It's 100% fair. I think the team embraced it. Remember, you got a quarterback, a backup quarterback, who now got first-team snaps for 11 days. I mean, we had an 11-day period there where you got a better look at some younger guys on the depth chart. And I think they know, we got to figure out what we have in 2023--
FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, yeah.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --because this guy's probably not going to be around. Their-- I think their clear assumption is that he is-- this is it, it's done so, after 2023.
And so if Jordan was like, hey, man, this is what I'm going to do, players are like, all right, man.
FRANK SCHWAB: I'll see you opening day.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.
FRANK SCHWAB: OK, Mike, yeah, cool.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Cool. Like, that's Michael Jordan, man. Like, we ain't screw-- like, OK.
FRANK SCHWAB: Right, right, right.
CHARLES ROBINSON: There are very--
FRANK SCHWAB: He's the only guy who could really get away with this.
CHARLES ROBINSON: I think, again, there's a finite number of athletes who can get away with this. I think the fact that it is in unprecedented territory, in terms of his age, also, weirdly enough, probably leans into this kind of thing being completely unprecedented as well. We've never had a player like him at this stage of a career.
They're creating the playbook as they go. Tom's not here during the off-season. Hey, he took a break, because, clearly, there's some familial stuff going on that he wants to make sure he tends to. So we're going to go ahead and lean into that. And we're going to have Tom Brady. And, oh, by the way, we went and got Julio. And, yeah, we're losing a bunch of offensive linemen, which isn't great.
FRANK SCHWAB: Nope.
CHARLES ROBINSON: But--
FRANK SCHWAB: --no.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --we're trying to do what we can to keep this thing together.
He made some remarks even before taking this time, where he talked about, like, hey, I don't know how much longer I'm going to have the fire.
FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah. Right. Yeah, that was a red flag to me, too. I was like--
CHARLES ROBINSON: That was a red flag, too.
FRANK SCHWAB: --whoa, wait.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.
FRANK SCHWAB: I'm just wondering, like, at Tom Brady's level of competitiveness, you're either all in or you're not. There's no in-between [? on ?] here. And I just-- I couldn't criticize him. He's been playing in the NFL for, what, 22 years? He has nothing left to prove.
You got a $380 million contract with Fox, or however much it is. I think it's somewhere in there. You have other things on your mind. And maybe, maybe, sometimes you're just like, it sounded like a good idea to come back, and I don't know if I want to go through this grind again. I would totally understand that.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Part of me wonders, does Tom Brady look at this as sort of now he has the excuse, I took an unprecedented 11 days out--
FRANK SCHWAB: Right.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --in the middle of camp-- that never happens-- OK, and now I'm back, and this is it, this is my farewell run?
FRANK SCHWAB: Giving this thing six more months, and whatever happens after that-- but these six months are--
CHARLES ROBINSON: And now I--
FRANK SCHWAB: --I'm giving it everything I got. I can see that, too, yeah.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Now I have an excuse. Now I have an excuse, right? I took time out. I did what I did. It's never been done before. The team played along with it. My teammates sacrificed, everybody sacrificed for me to be able to do this.
Now I have the excuse to become maniacal through February, if he takes it that far. I can be maniacal through February and not think about anything else but football. And then when it's done, it's done. And then, OK, that's it.