Tom Brady’s 23rd NFL campaign could be his most mysterious after bizarre offseason

Tom BradyThe professional life of, officially, at least, should continue as we have become accustomed to – he will dress for his 23rd season in the NFL on Sunday when his Tampa Bay Bucs visit the Dallas Cowboys.

Tom Brady’s personal life, officially, at least, is mostly a mystery. There have been tangible developments this offseason, including the retirement and non-retirementthe spring work jump, the lead role in a Miami tampering scandal and the (apologetic) absence from the 11-day boot camp…not to mention reports of marital strife and Costa Rican compounds.

But who really knows?

As Brady notes“I’m 45, man. There’s a lot of [expletive] going on, then you just have to try to understand life as best you can.

Well yes. Yes it is and yes it definitely is.

The impact of one on the other, however, is something no one knows until perhaps the final season of one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Some men face a midlife “crisis” when buying a Porsche. Brady has instead become the biggest mystery in the National Football League.

It's been a strange offseason for Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Tom Brady.  Will he be ready to go when the season opens Sunday against Dallas?  (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

It’s been a strange offseason for Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. Will he be ready to go when the season opens Sunday against Dallas? (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

Consider that over the weekend, Bucs coach Todd Bowles was even asked if he thought Brady was “all-in” this season, which is newsworthy, wouldn’t is that because it is entirely reasonable to wonder even with a player who has been accused of being too “all-in” on football, never enough “all-in”.

“He’s been all-in since we got him,” Bowles said. “He’s all-in now.”

He was the man who brought avocado ice cream to the national consciousness, after all.

“As you get older, life changes a bit,” Brady said on his “Let’s Go” podcast on Monday, addressing the situation. “There are different responsibilities that take shape in your life. There are different perspectives that you gain.

“When I was 25, all I thought about was football,” he continued. “It was my life. It was eating, sleeping, drinking football… over time, other priorities develop [and] …you devote time and energy to these things.

Last season, Brady led the NFL in passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43), was ranked the No. 1 player in the league by his peers, according to NFL Network, and beat the eventual Super champion. Bowl, Los Angeles Rams. if not for a last minute touchdown practice led by Matthew Stafford.

There’s no reason to think that much will change this season. Except everything seems to be changing this season, including Brady’s willingness to talk about challenges in his work/life balance which may or may not lead to New York Post articles about his marriage.

“There’s a big camera that’s always on you,” Brady said on the podcast. “You live your life and you also live your sporting life. They cover sports, but they also cover your life. And you can’t stop your life even if the sport happens…

“So even though I’m playing in my 23rd year, I have a high school freshman who also plays football,” Brady said. “I have a 12-year-old going through her life. I have a 9-year-old daughter going through her life. And I have parents. I have a lot of things that are really important activities and goals off of the terrain that you are also trying to maximize.

“So we all have different things going on and I think once the football season comes around I really lock down what I need to do and how I need to focus.”

Take it all, including who’s mentioned and who’s not mentioned, for what it’s worth. Everything is reasonable. It’s also a new level of introspection from TB12.

And that’s part of a worthwhile offseason.

The offseason retirement/non-retirement was weird — “I just felt like I had a little bit left. And I want to give it a shot.” Brady said of the decision. It’s not that a player was undecided, it’s that Tom Brady was undecided. The man is a methodical planner, not an emotional decision maker.

Then there was the Miami tampering scandal, where it was revealed that during Brady’s final season in New England, he was in touch with the Dolphins about joining the team.

The The NFL found out Brady got engaged in “numerous detailed conversations” with Miami executive Bruce Beal as part of the Dolphins’ “banned communications.” That included a reported visit to owner Stephen Ross’ yacht that made Dolphins coach Brian Flores feel uncomfortable, according to court documents.

Brady faced no discipline in this matter but, again, was he really arguing with a division rival while still at Foxborough?

Then there is Bowles’ rise to the position of head coach of the Bucs. There was enough speculation that Brady was somehow involved in Bruce Arians’ retirement that Brady himself asked if there was any truth to their deteriorating relationship.

“Zero anything,” Brady said. “[Bruce] and I have a great relationship.

Meanwhile, he’s already agreed to his next job, a 10-year, $375 million deal with Fox Sports that doesn’t start at the start of the 2023 season, but when he stops playing.

Finally, there’s all the personal stuff, which can’t be fun, no matter how truthful.

Maybe all the smoke is just smoke. Or maybe not. Skipping 11 days of training camp — though considered inconsequential by the team and the quarterback — went against everything Brady had ever been.

Preparation is his thing. Time with his teammates is his thing. Or it was.

So here we are, entering season 23 with so much talk about the level of commitment of the most committed football player of all time.

It’s at least Brady’s craziest offseason since 2016, when he battled the NFL in federal court over the Deflategate scandal only to end up serving a four-game suspension to start the season.

No one knew what to expect then either. There was also a lot of talk about focus and priorities.

Brady went 14-1 as a starter and won the Super Bowl.

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