By Ben Morse, CNN
Tom Brady is taking some time away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to “deal with personal things,” according to the team’s head coach Todd Bowles.
The 45-year-old quarterback missed practice on Thursday, and Bowles told reporters that he will not return until after the team’s second preseason game on August 20.
“Tom has been excused today,” Bowles said. “He’ll be back sometime around after Tennessee. He’s going to deal with some personal things.
“This is something we talked about before training camp started. We allotted this time because he wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys and go through two weeks of training camp.
“Knowing he wasn’t going to play the first two games, he didn’t want to take away reps from Blaine (Gabbert) and Kyle (Trask), as well as (Ryan Griffin), as far as going into these next two games.”
Bowles didn’t elaborate on the reason for Brady’s absence, but said it was a plan that had been in place from before training camp began and remained confident that Brady would be back for the team’s season-opening Week 1 clash against the Dallas Cowboys.
“Obviously, there’s always going to be doubt,” Bowles said, “but I have a pretty high level of confidence, yes.”
Bucs linebacker Devin White said Brady had his team’s full support and understanding.
“He’s a grown man — (more grown) than most of us in the locker room, and he’s a human at the end of the day,” White said. “He’s got personal problems going on, but he’s a guy that’s been doing this so long, he (doesn’t) need to be here.
“If he’s not here, we know that he’s still working. He has a great supporting cast around him and he’s going to get his work in whether he’s here or not here, so when he comes back, he’ll never miss a beat and that’s the only important thing.
“But more than football, we’re praying for whatever he’s got going on as a human being and we hope everyone else does too and that’s all we ask for him — his well-being. Football comes second, him being a human comes first.”
Since joining the Bucs in 2020 from the New England Patriots, Brady has helped to dramatically improve the team’s success.
A perennial underachiever before his arrival, the Bucs won the Super Bowl in Brady’s first season at the helm; his seventh Super Bowl ring.
The team fell short of expectations last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl winners the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs.
Despite being the oldest quarterback in the league, predictions for the Bucs are once again sky-high this season: Super Bowl or bust.
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