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What Tom Brady Had to Say About Signing Brandin Echols' Interception Ball

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said his autograph for New York Jets cornerback Brandin Echols is the last time he's signing an interception ball.
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Tom Brady rarely does something only once. 

He's won three Most Valuable Player Awards, he's a 15-time Pro Bowler, he's thrown for 84,194 passing yards in his 22-year career and most importantly, he's won seven Super Bowl championships.

What Brady did this past Sunday after a victory over the Jets, however, is something he says he'll never do again.

The all-time great quarterback was approached by Jets rookie cornerback Brandin Echols, who had intercepted his final pass of the first half earlier that afternoon. Echols, holding the very football he picked off along with a black marker, asked Brady for an autograph.

In the moment, Brady obliged, signing the ball before embracing the rookie. Then, they went their separate ways.  

Here's how the moment looked on live television:

As it turns out, that gesture from Brady is even more rare than it initially seemed. Here's Brady weighing in on the autograph in an interview with Jim Gray on Sirius XM's 'Let’s Go!' podcast:

"That was the first time. What a nice guy, young player. It was actually kind of flattering. It's not often I've signed an interception ball, too. I think that's the first time. I don't necessarily like signing mistakes, let me just say that. So that's the last time I'm gonna do that. I know it's the season of giving. I don't plan on giving any more gifts to people for that either. It's much better to receive than give from my standpoint as a quarterback."

Jets head coach Robert Saleh also chimed in on the controversial topic this week, something has been discussed quite a bit on social media over the last few days.

While some fans and pundits criticized Echols' autograph ask—coming seconds after a heartbreaking loss—Saleh sided with those that had no problems with the situation.

"I get it because there’s a lot of fans who watch and care so much about the result of the game and so they want the players to care, and they want to visually see that. So, optically, I can see how some people can take offense from it, but the reality is, the NFL is a brotherhood. These guys all know each other. They talk to each other on the phone, the call each other, they work out with one another. This is a huge fraternity of brothers and they just spent four hours going at it on the football field, they spent all week prepping on how they’re just going to absolutely embarrass one another and so at the end of the game, the jersey exchanges, those conversation that they’re having, that is a very cool, genuine moment that’s happening between players. I think it speaks volumes. One, it’s a little ballsy by a rookie to do it, but I think it speaks volumes about Tom Brady and his character. Major competitor, for him to sign the ball, I think it speaks volumes to him because I don’t care what anyone says, he picked off Tom, like that’s a childhood dream. That’s one of the greatest of all time and for Tom to humor him with the autograph and to do that for him, I think is pretty cool on his part. And again, I have no problem with it, not at all, because I know what those guys go through and trust me, Echols cares that we lost and he cares that Tom had a hell of a game. But to be able to pick off a guy like Tom Brady, how many guys can say that, right?

The interception was the second of Echols' young career. The rookie brought a pick back for six against the Dolphins a few weeks ago.

As Saleh said, it's certainly a "ballsy" move to approach an opponent with that type of request moments after going to battle, but hey, plenty of players swap jerseys and exchange pleasantries after games all the time. 

For Echols, it was certainly worth it in retrospect. Now, he has a one-of-a-kind piece of memorabilia and a memento that will last forever. 


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