Tom Brady is officially a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That sentence being factual is going to take some getting used to, but the reality of Brady on the Buccaneers hit home on Tuesday as the future Hall of Famer was officially introduced by the team on a conference call with the Tampa Bay media.
What did he have to say? Here are five things we learned as Brady spoke as a member of the Buccaneers for the first time.
1. Brady looking ahead
The big question on everyone from New England's mind remains "why?" Why did Brady leave New England? What could the Patriots have done to keep him?
Brady was asked those very questions on the call but declined to shed any light on what made him decide the time was right to leave.
"I don't want to talk about the past because that's not relevant to my future," Brady said, adding that it has been an emotional transition for him.
But rather than take subtle shots or passive aggressive snipes at his former team out the door, Brady was effusive in his praise for the Patriots organization throughout the call.
"There's nobody whose been a bigger fan of the Patriots than me, I have nothing but respect and love," Brady said. "I have so many great relationships that will be maintained, and the greatest gift football has brought me is the incredible relationships I've had with people I've worked with."
2. When did he decide to leave?
During the call Brady was asked when he knew for sure that his time with the Patriots was over. The quarterback said it didn't become real until the night he met with Robert Kraft and spoke with him in person.
"I asked if I could come over and see him, and we spoke and had a great conversation," Brady said, adding that he wanted to express to Kraft what he's meant to him in his life.
Brady went on to say that he also spoke with Bill Belichick and Jonathan Kraft that night as well and that he harbors no ill will towards the franchise.
"I leave there with great admiration for the people in that organization," he said. "It's a first class organization in every ways and I wanted to leave it that way too."
3. Brady keeps expectations in check
One of the first questions posed to Brady by members of the Tampa Bay media was 'what can you do to help change things for the Buccaneers?' Tampa Bay hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, and the hope around the franchise is that Brady can help establish a winning culture and lead the Bucs back to contention.
Brady made no attempt to portray himself as a savior, however, repeatedly emphasizing that his job is to get up to speed with the offense and hopefully do his part in helping the team succeed.
"I'm not going to make a bunch of predictions," Brady said. "I go in looking forward to learning from the new coaches and new players and I'm going to give it everything I've got."
4. Busy offseason ahead
Throughout the conference call, Brady repeatedly emphasized the importance of learning the Bucs' system and getting acquainted with his new team. After 20 years in New England, Brady will now need to learn a new set of terminology and the preferences of a new cast of teammates, and that process will now be more difficult given the ongoing disruption caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
After skipping out on New England's voluntary offseason program the last two years, Brady says he hopes to take part in whatever workouts he's able to help make the transition go as smoothly as possible. He repeatedly said he's going to take things one day at a time, acknowledging the cliche while noting that's how the whole world is living these days.
"I have one ball and I have to deliver it to someone who can do something with it," Brady said. "I'm going to have to learn what they do and how they like things, and that's part of the challenge. It's unfortunate what we're going through in our world ... as soon as we can all be in one place together we're going to start working on that together."
5. Excited to work with Arians, Leftwich
When asked about the prospect of playing in head coach Bruce Arians' offense, Brady said he's watched a lot of film on his teams over the years and has always been impressed by their level of production.
"It's a great offense for the quarterbacks, for the receivers, the running backs, there have been a lot of great players who have worked with coach Arians, and it's for me to come in and learn the things we need to do to be successful and what we collectively do well," Brady said. "Great offenses aren't about one player, they're about every guy being on the same page."
Brady was also asked about offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, a former peer of Brady's who played quarterback in the NFL for four teams between 2003 and 2012.
"We had a chance to talk a couple of times and I'm looking forward to getting to know him," Brady said. "I watched him play for a long time, competed against him and he's done an incredible job transitioning into his second career. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Mac Cerullo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.