For Tom Brady, it's All About the Future
It wasn't surprising that Tom Brady spent much of his introductory conference call this week respectfully deflecting questions about his departure from the New England Patriots.
Brady had spent his entire 20-year NFL career with the Pats, winning six Super Bowls, four Super Bowl MVPs, three league MVPs, and helping to lead one of the most dominant dynasties professional sports has ever seen.
Certainly, people are interested in what drove him to pack his pro football bags for the first time in his career, trading clam chowder for Cuban sandwiches (okay, the "TB12" method probably doesn't let him eat either one, but still).
But while inquiring minds wanted details about his departure from New England, and perhaps any displeasure or animosity he harbored toward his old team, Brady made it clear he's focused on what lies ahead in Tampa Bay.
"I think, obviously where I've been, I've learned a great deal," Brady said. "As I move forward, like I said the other day, no one cares what you did in the past. They don't care what you did last year, five years ago or 10 years ago. I think hopefully the knowledge I have with my experience playing quarterback will allow me to transition quickly. There are a lot of things I've got to get up to speed on. Obviously, learning different terminology – that is a unique challenge that I haven't faced, but it's one that I'm looking forward to, also. Again, I'm not going to make a bunch of predictions to where I've been. I go in looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the new coaches and the new players that I'll be playing with, and I'm going to go out and give it everything I've got."
Brady was asked repeatedly about the events that led to his departure from the Patriots, but he gracefully avoided any opportunity to badmouth the only NFL team he's ever known.
Instead, he took every chance to mention the Patriots as an opportunity to celebrate the positive things he's taking from his legendary career in New England.
"I think Mr. Kraft has been a great influence in my life and I'm so grateful for two decades [with New England]," Brady said. "I referenced that the other day. It's been an amazing thing for my family and I'm sure when I'm done playing I'll look back and have a chance to reevaluate my entire career, but at the same time I'm excited for this opportunity that I have. I can only speak about how I feel. I wrote about that in my social media the other day. This was getting to be a free agent and having the opportunity to join the Bucs is something that I was really excited about and that's why we're at where we're at."
Brady knows the Patriots won't stop being a championship organization just because he's left town. But his attentions and energies are now fully focused on bringing that championship culture to his new team in Tampa Bay.
"It's a world-class, first-class organization in every way, and I wanted to leave it that way, too," Brady said of his previous team. "I know the Patriots have a great team, they always do – they have great players, great leadership, great coaches – and I certainly wish them the best. But for me, I've got to transition and focus on the opportunity that I have to make the current situation I'm in as best as I can. They hired me to do a job here and I'm going to go in there and do it like you've always seen me do for a long time, like the fans have always seen me do, like opposing coaches, my teammates have seen me do. I'm going to give it everything I've got like I've done every day of my life for as long as I've been playing this sport."
Maybe someday, Brady will dish the dirt that some are so desperate to know about why his two decades in New England came to an end over these past few months.
But for now, those who want those details will simply have to do what Brady is doing, and look to the future.