Tom Brady, Bucs teammates throwing at Yankees spring training complex

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TAMPA — Tom Brady was given a chance to hold his offseason throwing sessions at the team’s training facility.

No coaches. Use the practice fields whenever you want. The weight room. Showers. All available. You make the schedule. It doesn’t have to be part of the Bucs’ organized team activities, which begin Tuesday.

That’s the offer made to the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback by coach Bruce Arians.

On Monday, Brady and many of his Bucs teammates got together in the shadow of Raymond James Stadium, where they won Super Bowl 55 in February.

But instead of working out at the AdventHealth Training Center, Brady and Co. practiced at the New York Yankees’ spring training complex.

Brady posted photos of the workout on his Instagram page. He wore a T-shirt that listed all seven of his Super Bowl wins. Among the participants were tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate, quarterbacks Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert, receiver Chris Godwin and running backs Ronald Jones and Bengals free agent Giovani Bernard

“Welcome to the squad, baby!!!” Brady posted with a picture of Bernard.

A couple weeks ago, Brady made an impassioned plea during the NFL Players Association conference call for players to stay strong and not participate in voluntary offseason workouts unless the league modified rules regarding them.

A year ago, Brady and his new teammates worked out at Berkeley Prep High School in Tampa when facilities were shut down due to COVID-19. But Arians hoped Brady would at least use the team facilities this year, even if he decided to boycott organized team activities.

If an NFL player is injured away from the club training site during the offseason, the league can consider it a non-football related injury and the player’s salary would not be guaranteed.

Brady is recovering from “serious” offseason knee surgery, which occurred shortly after winning Super Bowl 55.

“Great day with the boys,” Brady said on Instagram. “Starting to feel like football season again.”

When asked if Brady and teammates planned to take him up on his offer to throw at the team facility, Arians texted “not sure.” Then he used the fingers crossed emoji, meaning hope “they do.”

At least for one day, the plan was to get as close to Raymond James Stadium as possible — without stepping foot into the team complex a quarter-mile away.

Bucs players and coaches already have agreed to reduce the offseason workout program. Instead of three full weeks of organized team activities and 10 total, there will be only six. The team will disband for the remainder of the offseason following the mandatory minicamp June 7-9.

Arians also has said he doesn’t want any of the 22 starters returning from the Super Bowl team to attend the voluntary workouts, and if they do, he won’t put them on the field. He has said the organized team activities will be for rookies and players on “the bottom half” of the roster.

“I don’t necessarily want our veterans here, our starters here until minicamp,” Arians said. “But we need the bottom half of our roster working.”

As for Brady, Arians said he wants his quarterback to take things slow.

“I told him, ‘Just take it easy,’” Arians said. “He wants to get his arm in shape, but he’s got to take time on that leg. You throw with your legs as much as your arm. He knows that, so just take your time and make sure you’re right.”

A year ago, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams closed their facilities to players, coaches and staff. Meetings were conducted virtually and players were sent personalized workout programs to follow at home.

The NFLPA claimed the result was a decrease in concussions and leg injuries. They urged players to essentially stay away from voluntary offseason workout programs this summer.

Even though they are voluntary, veteran players often feel pressure to attend to keep from losing their jobs to rookies or younger players.

Players from each team have been left to negotiate their own terms with coaches. The Colts cut their nine-week offseason workout program to two weeks, which end Memorial Day.

The Chargers and Dolphins are holding virtual meetings and walk-throughs. The Saints have decided to do away with all the field work and concentrate only on strength training.

The Bucs will learn which players attend the start of workouts Tuesday. Rookie quarterback Kyle Trask from Florida is expected to be there, and Griffin also may participate and take advantage of the extra reps he doesn’t receive during training camp or the regular season.

Only Brady knows when he will gather teammates again for another passing session or where that may take place.

The Yankees apparently are all to happy to help out the Bucs’ quarterback. Incidentally, Tampa Bay plays both the New York Jets and New York Giants this season.

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