TAMPA, Fla. — Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is expected to return to the team this week, coach Todd Bowles announced Sunday. Bowles didn’t give an exact date, but said, “It’ll be early this week.”
Brady hasn’t been with the team since Aug. 11 to attend to what has been described as “personal matters.” Bowles said it was something that was agreed weeks ago and that the team is supportive of Brady, who has stayed in touch with the coaching staff during his absence.
Bowles said no decision has been made as to whether Brady will play in the Indianapolis Colts’ third and final preseason game this week.
“Not yet. We’ll see how practice goes and we’ll make those decisions at the end of the week,” Bowles said.
In the past, teams have used the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the starting XI, although the preseason as a whole has become less important in recent years, largely because coaches see the risk of injury as too great and want backups to have as much playing time as possible give. The Buccaneers’ focus this preseason has been giving sophomore quarterback Kyle Trask as many reps as possible.
Several starters and high-profile Bucs players have yet to participate in the preseason this year due to injuries, the need to gauge depth, or not wanting to take unnecessary risk. These players include wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, right tackle Tristan Wirfs, left tackle Donovan Smith, right guard Shaq Mason, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, inside linebacker Lavonte David and Devin White, cornerback Carlton Davis III and Safety Antoine Winfield Jr.
In addition to his current absence, Brady missed four days of camp in late July and early August. He’s been given days off in the past, but this is the first time in 23 years he’s taken significant time off the team during training camp or preseason. He missed OTAs when he was with the New England Patriots in 2018 to spend more time with his family, but those drills are optional and happen in the spring, well before the regular season begins.
All of Brady’s absences from the Bucs in 2022 have been team-sanctioned, although it’s highly unusual for NFL teams to allow that kind of flexibility.
Brady is in a challenging situation. Not only is Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen sidelined with a knee injury, but the Bucs lost left guard Aaron Stinnie, who was fighting for a starting role, Saturday night to an ACL/MCL tear. Evans is also still suffering from a hamstring injury and Godwin is still recovering from an ACL injury, although he’s making progress and now participating in some 7v7 work.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34435875/source-qb-tom-brady-return-tampa-bay-buccaneers-very-shortly QB Tom Brady to return to Tampa Bay Buccaneers early this week