The 43-year-old quarterback Tom Brady made no apologies during a recent interview when discussing the unnamed team that passed on him last year when he approached free agency.
Brady declined to name the team during an interview with SiriusXM, stating that “there’s private things for me that are going to remain motivational for me — they know who they are.”
“I think what you realize is that there’s not as many smart people as you think,” Brady said of the unidentified team during a SiriusXM Town Hall event with sportscaster Jim Gray that aired Wednesday night. “It’s just the reality.”
Brady announced he was leaving the New England Patriots in March 2020, the team where he spent the first two decades of his NFL career. During that period, the father of three explored free agency and met with other teams before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a month later.
“It would be a no-brainer if you said, ‘Hey, you’ve got a chance to get Wayne Gretzky on your team,’ or ‘You get a chance to have Michael Jordan on your team,'” Brady told Gray. “‘Ahh, we don’t need him. No thanks, we’re good.’ In my mind, I’m kind of thinking, okay, let me go show those teams what they’re missing.”
“At the same time, let me go prove to the team that did bet on me, and the team that really showed that they really wanted me and committed to me, that I’m not going to let them down,” he continued.
Brady chose Tampa Bay and led the team to a Super Bowl victory ten months later in February, his seventh championship. While things eventually worked out, Brady never forgot about the team that passed on him during free agency.
“One of the teams, and they weren’t interested at the very end,” Brady discussed in an episode of HBO’s The Shop last month. “I was thinking, ‘You’re sticking with that motherf—–?’ “
NFL fans speculate that Brady was referring to Jimmy Garoppolo, who was previously Brady’s backup in New England but went on to start for the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers confirmed during Brady’s free agency that they were interested in him.