TAMPA, FLA. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady is only focusing on one thing this week, beating Carolina.
“We’ve got to do a good job, and I’ve got to play quarterback,” Brady said. “I’ve got to prepare well, and that’s what I’m thinking about.”
The Bucs face a hot Carolina Panthers team that, like the Bucs, has a shot at winning the NFC South. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, the Bucs will be division champs. If the Panthers beat the Bucs and the New Orleans Saints, Carolina would clinch their first NFC South crown since 2015. All this is not lost on Brady.
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“They’re (Carolina) playing hard. They run the ball well, they’re good on defense, really well prepared. It’s a big challenge, it’s a great opportunity, and you don’t take it for granted.”
Brady’s contract is up at the end of this season, and he says he’s got no idea what he’ll do next season. Will he play? Will it be for Tampa Bay? He could retire and jump in the booth for Fox or even take a year off. Brady says now is not the time to discuss any of those options.
“Honestly. it’s the furthest thing from my mind,” Brady said. “I’m just going to go out there and try to play a great game this week.”
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich even marvels at Brady’s success, and for as long as the seven-time Super Bowl champ has been doing it.
“There’s nobody else really to compare it to,” Leftwich said. “The consistency that he’s had from the time he came in and became the starter is unreal. We really haven’t seen it. There’s been some consistent players, some Hall of Fame players, but man this even supersedes that, right?”
Brady has actually spent half of his life playing quarterback in the NFL.
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“Wow, that’s crazy,” Brady said. “That’s crazy. There’s stats and data everywhere. That’s hard for me to imagine. I’ve loved it. I’ve certainly loved my opportunity to play. It’s been a lot of memories and relationships and I’ve certainly had my share of those.”
Will he have a relationship with a new team next season? There’s been a lot of speculation that Brady could finish up his playing career with a team that’s looking for a QB and ready to win now. But Brady will only talk about playing this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
“You go out there, and you cut it loose, and you play your best.”
Kickoff Sunday is at 1. The Bucs will end the regular season in Atlanta.