The rules apparently don’t apply to #Tommy.
Earlier this week, the folks in Tampa tiptoed around new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady‘s violation of Florida’s stay-at-home order by simply asking him to leave a closed public park, while also bending over backward to make it clear that he was “sighted” not “cited” there.
Now comes the news that, on April 7, Brady accidentally wandered into a Tampa house while trying to find the home belonging to Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. TMZ.com has the story, and it’s a funny one.
Said David Kramer to TMZ.com, “I literally was just sitting here and I watch this tall guy just walk into my house. 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. . . . He just goes, ‘Am I in the wrong house?!'”
Brady was in the wrong house, and even though being “sighted” there won’t result in him being “cited” by the authorities, Brady’s explanation could result in the team being “cited,” not “sighted,” by the league.
ESPN.com confirmed the incident, and reports (i.e., passes along the self-serving leak from the Buccaneers) that “Brady and Leftwich were trying to follow social distancing guidelines, having Brady come to pick up materials from his new coach rather than meeting with him.”
It doesn’t matter, under NFL rules. As one source explained it to PFT, players cannot meet with coaches at any time prior to the start of the offseason program. Meetings outside the building are even more problematic, because in many cases those meetings can happen without detection.
“Totally illegal,” the source said. “They should be fined. Plus, I bet those duffel bags had footballs in them.”
In other words, the source suspects that Brady fully intended not only to meet with Leftwich but also to participate in some sort of workout in which Leftwich would have been directly involved.
There’s another problem with Brady’s accidental trespass. Florida’s belated stay-at-home order became effective on April 3, four days before Brady failed to stay at home for reasons that definitely do not amount to essential purposes. For the same reason other NFL players have been called out for violating stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of a deadly virus, Brady should be called out, too.
And none of this is a surprise. Rumors and speculation have been rampant in league and media circles that Tampa is taking a “no f–ks given” approach to compliance with the rules regarding both the pursuit of Brady and the effort to get him up to speed for the 2020 season, even if violations of stay-at-home orders will make it harder to have a 2020 season.
The NFL has not responded to an email requesting confirmation or clarification regarding whether Brady’s meeting with Leftwich violates offseason rules. Likewise, the Buccaneers did not immediately respond to a text message sent to the team’s P.R. director seeking comment.