Will NFL's explanation that Tom Brady, Bucs didn't break league rules satisfy opposing teams?

Tom Brady’s transition to Tampa has been an adventurous one.

The new Buccaneers quarterback got a call-out from the mayor for violating public park protocol during the coronavirus shutdown.

Then he accidentally walked into a stranger’s house when he meant to visit Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Instead he went into Leftwich’s neighbor’s house.

The mishap led to jokes instead of legal trouble over the misunderstanding. But competing teams thought that Brady and Leftwich might have been breaking NFL policy by meeting each other.

According to the NFL, they didn’t.

"It was a brief personal visit and Tom picked up the playbook,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told NFL Network’s Pelissero on Tuesday.

If Tom Brady was just picking up a playbook from Byron Leftwich, then why did he have a duffel bag? (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
If Tom Brady was just picking up a playbook from Byron Leftwich, then why did he have duffel bags? (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Why would a visit violate league rules?

The issue here involves the league’s rules concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Players are prohibited from using team facilities and working on in-person offseason instruction and conditioning programs in the interest of complying with social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

Teams are instead required to use a virtual offseason program.

So what about the duffel bags?

The explanation that Brady was just meeting Leftwich to pick up a playbook may not satisfy teams who believed that Brady and Leftwich were breaking the rules. If he was just picking up a playbook, why did Brady have duffel bags, like Leftwich’s neighbor noted to TMZ?

“I literally was just sitting here and I watch this tall guy just walk into my house,” David Kramer told TMZ. “He didn't even look at me. He just like dropped his duffel bags down on the floor and just kind of like looked up at me, and I'll never forget the look on his face.”

Brady surely didn’t bring duffel bags to carry home a playbook.

Pro Football talk reported on Tuesday that “there’s been a palpable sense in league circles that the Buccaneers are playing fast and loose with the rules” in getting Brady up to speed.

The NFL’s explanation isn’t likely to satiate those concerns.

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