Acknowledging that his periodic lack of composure remains an issue well into this third decade in the NFL, Tom Brady assumed some responsibility for Sunday afternoon’s Superdome scuffle that led to Mike Evans’ one-game suspension.
The Bucs’ 45-year-old quarterback also expressed his appreciation for Evans coming to his aid, adding that he doesn’t think the suspension is warranted.
“I think just sometimes the emotions get the best of us, and I love Mike. And the fact that Mike would come out there to defend me means everything in the world to me as a teammate and a friend,” Brady told host Jim Gray on his weekly Let’s Go! podcast that aired Monday evening.
“And Mike knows how I feel about him. So in the end, emotions are a part of sports. Sometimes they boil over, and they obviously did (Sunday), and it’s an unfortunate circumstance. I don’t think it deserved any type of suspension; I think that’s ridiculous. Hopefully we can move past it and get to a better place.”
The incident — deemed a “melee” by the NFL — occurred in the fourth quarter of the Bucs’ 20-10 win against the Saints, snapping Tampa Bay’s seven-game regular-season losing streak to New Orleans. Brady exchanged words with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore after believing he had interfered during an incomplete pass to Scotty Miller.
Running back Leonard Fournette pushed Lattimore from the side, and Lattimore responded by shoving Fournette below the facemask, throwing his head back. That prompted Evans to come charging off the sideline, knocking Lattimore to the turf. Both players were ejected following offsetting unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties.
“Obviously if I didn’t run down there to argue with the call ... if things weren’t said back and forth between both teams, it could’ve been avoided,” Brady said.
“...There’s a lot of things that go into it and there’s a lot of things at fault, so I don’t think Mike should be the one to be blamed and singled out. Unfortunately he has been, and that’s just the reality of life in the NFL.”
Brady’s haste to argue the non-call was hardly his lone display of raw emotion Sunday. Fox cameras also captured him smashing a Miscrosoft tablet to the ground early in the third quarter, when his team still trailed 3-0. It marked the second time Brady has destroyed a tablet during a game against New Orleans.
“I’ve had a pretty bad record against that tablet unfortunately. I forgot the password and I couldn’t log in, so those things can be frustrating,” Brady joked.
“I didn’t do a very good job of (remaining poised), and I’ve got to be really mindful of that going forward and getting my emotions in a good place so it allows me to be the best player I can be. I think there’s are points where you can become too overly emotional, which I definitely think I was (Sunday).
“I’ve got to find a better place to be at so I can be in a better place for my teammates.”
Brady’s frustration stems from the fact his team, while 2-0, has managed two offensive touchdowns in as many games. The Bucs, already dealing with myriad injuries on offense, ranked 26th in the NFL in total offense (303.5 yards per game) through Sunday’s contests, and are averaging 19.5 points after scoring 30 or more 11 times in 2021.
“There’s a very high standard that we’ve all set,” Brady said. “And I think there’s a part of us where we all feel we’re capable of making every play, and that not the reality of football, it’s not the reality of sports. ... In the end, you’ve got to be very satisfied with a victory, and I think part of that’s a challenge as you become an older athlete.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls