Laird: Does Tampa know what it is truly getting with Tom Brady?


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers paid up for Tom Brady’s services, but were they aware they purchased a six-ring circus?

One circus hoop for each Super Bowl ring on Brady’s fingers: obsessed football player, TB12 corporation, wannabe movie star, life coach, supermodel husband, and possible FOT (Friend of Trump).

I’m no Tampa Bay sports historian, but I feel safe in saying Lee Roy Selmon didn’t come with this kind of baggage.

On just one random Tuesday in June - in the heart of a growing Florida COVID-19 hotspot where at least two of his Bucs teammates had just tested positive - Brady posted eight new Instagram story-pics flaunting his new TB12 orange apparel while working out in a large group directly against the medical advice from his own players’ union.

The final picture in that string was the now-predictable plug of the TB12 “immune response” product ‘Protect’, which the cynical among us might call profiting off of a pandemic.

Brady sure has a lot going on these days. Is Bruce Arians ready for this? Is Tompa Bay really prepared?

I know the editors at the Tampa Bay Times were shockingly unprepared for the arrival of Brady’s guru Alex Guerrero, as WBZ’s Michael Hurley pointed out on Twitter:

Tom is NOT going to like this caption.

— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) June 23, 2020

How is Guerrero possibly an unidentified individual to the Tampa media? Guerrero is the guy every Buccaneers fan should be focused on the most.

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and others have famously outlined Guerrero’s power struggle in New England with Bill Belichick over access and players’ treatment.

Now that the Belichick roadblock is removed, will Guerrero be back in team meetings and on the sidelines? Will he be named an assistant coach? Urging players to avoid doing squats in the weight room?

It got so awkward here with Brady in 2018, Brady ended a WEEI interview and a press conference when questions about Guerrero were raised. Maybe the Tampa Bay Times has already gotten the edict and were warned against mentioning Guerrero’s name in print?

One thing is for sure, as the TB12 megacorp grows Brady’s public life feels at least half infomercial. It’s going to be impossible for Brady’s teammates and coaches to not wonder if he’s placing that personal empire ahead of team success at some point.

It sure felt that way here when the Brady’s Netflix spa-scene cameo dropped in the middle of a 2019 game week. For a man who claims that he tries to avoid distractions, Brady’s perceived joke at Robert Kraft’s expense fueled hours of talk show debate. Luckily for the Pats, the lowly NY Jets were that week’s opponent. Tampa might not be so lucky if the Saints are on the docket.

Gisele’s busy schedule always made Brady’s off-field life demanding, but now between Hulu commercial shoots, Tony Robbins Wealth Summits, and behind-the-scenes documentaries, Brady is enough of a supermodel by himself. The crew of ESPN’s Man in the Arena might occupy more seats at Raymond James Stadium this year than Bucs fans do.

Hate to break it to you Tampa, that million-dollar Brady smile comes with a price: a cultish off-field lifestyle. The cult of the Brady brand.

And on the field? Brady will soon be carrying around a 43-year-old body, with the ability to unleash a quick temper if things don’t go well.

And with Brady’s post-Belichick legacy on the line, you can fully expect the quick fuse to be on display. The 2020 recreations of last year’s “be faster, quicker, more explosive” sideline receiver rant from that night in Houston are coming, with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans playing the roles of N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.

Plus, now that Brady has been emboldened to play general manager with his orchestration of the Rob Gronkowski trade, will Brady be shopping for Arians’ groceries at the nearby Publix, so to speak?

In Boston, the worst it got was Brady growing a bushy Logan Mankins beard in solidarity for his lost guard. The worst it could get in Tampa? Antonio Brown demands, anyone? And let’s hope Arians gives Tom enough Buccaneer of the Week awards to keep him happy while employing backup quarterbacks who are sure to pose no threat to his playing time.

Last but not least, Bucs fans, it’s an election year. Every day, Trump will be in the news, meaning each day the Brady-Trump relationship is fair game again. We’ll all see that 2015 MAGA hat image from Brady’s locker room stall a hundred times.

Is Brady worth all the drama? 

We know Belichick’s answer. It’s been a quiet offseason in New England as a result. The legendary Greek philosopher Pythagoras might give the offseason edge to The Hoodie over Tom Brady right about now: “A fool is known by his speech; a wise man by his silence.”