Tom Brady playing entire 2020 season with torn MCL could spell trouble for Bucs under NFL policy


Fox News 17 July, 2021 - 11:47am 26 views

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"The information must be credible, accurate, timely, and specific within the guidelines of the policy, which is of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of the game."

The policy continues: "All players who have reportable injuries must be listed on the Practice Report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been the subject of local or national media coverage."

If the Bucs were aware of Brady’s injury, the consequences of failing to report it are pretty serious. 

Penalties could include fines and suspensions of the people involved, as well as forfeiture of draft choices, according to the NFL.

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In the Current | Episode 5 2020 Season | Never Lose Again

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 July, 2021 - 01:00pm

Why Tom Brady's big injury from 2020 could lead to a major punishment from the NFL for the Buccaneers

CBS Sports 17 July, 2021 - 01:00pm

It's not easy to upstage yourself after six Super Bowl wins, but Tom Brady definitely managed to do that during the 2020 season and that's because not only did he end up winning his seventh Lombardi Trophy, but he did it in a year where he played the entire season with a torn MCL

The man won a Super Bowl playing on one leg!

Although this will look legendary on Brady's résumé, it's not necessarily a good thing for the Buccaneers that this injury news leaked out on Thursday and that's because it could put them in hot water with the NFL

The problem for the Buccaneers is that if Brady played the entire season with an MCL tear, then he should have been listed on the team's injury report each week during the season. The NFL has a specific rule that covers this exact situation and the rule is pretty clear. 

From the league's handbook

"All players who have reportable injuries must be listed on the practice report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players."

The italicized portion of the above quote is literally UNDERLINED in the league's operations manual. The fact that the NFL also mentions specifically that all "key" players should be on the report is something that will make this difficult for the Buccaneers to argue their way out of. 

If a team violates the NFL's policy on reporting injuries, the commissioner has the power to hand down multiple different punishments, including the suspension of anyone involved. 

"A violation of the policy may result in Commissioner discipline, which may include a fine on the involved club, fines or suspensions of involved individuals, as well as the possible forfeiture of draft choices by the involved club," the league's rulebook states.

Imagine how crazy things would get if Roger Goodell decided to suspend Brady for the second time in five years. 

When asked if the Buccaneers would be punished over the Brady situation, the NFL gave a "no comment" to Pro Football Talk. The "no comment" doesn't mean the Buccaneers won't be punished. What it most likely means is that the NFL is going to look into the situation. For the Buccaneers, it's going to be nearly impossible to deny that Brady played injured, especially because he admitted it last month. 

Brady was actually asked about his knee injury during minicamp in June and although he never admitted how serious it was, he did admit that it had been bothering him since April 2020.  

"It was an injury I dealt with really since last April, May," Brady said. "I knew I'd have to do something at the end of the [2020 season], and happy I did it. It was probably something that certainly needed to be done and there was a great outcome, so I'm very happy about that. I feel I'll be able to do some different things this year than I was able to do last year."

The NFL has proven it will punish teams that hide injuries, especially in high profile situations. After hiding a Brett Favre injury during the 2008 season, the Jets were hit with a $125,000 fine

In a more recent situation, the Steelers were fined $100,000 in 2019 -- $75,000 for the team and $25,000 for Mike Tomlin -- for not accurately listing Ben Roethlisberger on their Week 2 injury report. Big Ben missed a practice leading up to the game with an elbow injury, but the Steelers never listed the injury. Instead, they listed his absence as a veteran rest day. The NFL found out about the injury after Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph noted that Roethlisberger was suffering elbow pain in the lead up to Pittsburgh's Week 2 game against Seattle. Big Ben ended up suffering an elbow injury in the game that caused him to miss the rest of the season. 

The Roethlisberger situation only involved one week of practice reports and the Steelers still got hit with a major fine, so it wouldn't be surprising if Tampa Bay gets hit with something similar or possibly even bigger, since the Buccaneers went an entire year without acknowledging Brady's injury on their practice reports. 

The NFL doesn't have a long history of punishing teams for practice report violations, but like Favre and Big Ben, this is such a high-profile case that the league might end up deciding to make an example of the Buccaneers. 

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Tom Brady: Buccaneers unfairly attacked for GOAT’s greatness

The Pewter Plank 16 July, 2021 - 12:57pm

Tom Brady, Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

It is no secret that the media and NFL world have mostly done everything in their power to discredit the Buccaneers and Tom Brady after one of the most surprising seasons in recent memory. Still, we have reached a new low.

Yesterday, news broke by Tampa’s own Rick Stroud that Tom Brady played the entire 2020 season and in the playoffs with a fully torn MCL. You read that right. There is no GOAT debate and certainly no comparison. Brady’s 2020 season with a torn MCL has no equal in anything.

This is not a “Flu Game” or a dramatic return from a massive injury; this is greatness beyond compare.

As the rest of the league struggles to find quarterbacks that can extend plays with their legs and athleticism, the Buccaneers just convincingly won the Super Bowl with a quarterback that had a major ligament tear in his knee.

The MCL may not be as vital to knee movement as the ACL, but it is still no small task to put consistent weight on a body part that has lost one of its primary stabilizers. Tom Brady did this while also putting together one of the best seasons of his career.

As is typical for the Buccaneers, this story has to go beyond the obvious. Instead of taking this for its worth, this has now become an indictment against the Buccaneers and Brady.

Pro Football Talk is the most recent entity to take issue with Brady and the Buccaneers.

Bucs played it fast and loose throughout 2020 when it came to Brady. Tampering violations, injury-report violations. But Machiavelli would approve.

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 16, 2021

The insinuation that the Buccaneers “cheated” due to hiding Brady’s injury is ludicrous, and PFT also makes plenty of other claims on Twitter that appear to indicate an emotional level to this argument; something good arguers know has no place when trying to make your point.

Brady didn’t miss games, he didn’t miss practices, and it didn’t impact the season in any significant way. It’s not like the GOAT was going to be running for touchdowns every single play, yet his production on the ground was comparable to his seasonal average.

Had nothing been said, no one on the planet had any way of knowing that Brady was injured at all, and the league would waste its time trying to get a report on every single player that has an injury that doesn’t keep them from playing.

Do we have to report hangnails now? Is the NFL going to make every player take their socks off before the game to make sure they don’t have turf toe? Absolutely not.

We understand the desire to have information out in public, especially for media companies, but Brady missed nothing. The fact that he looked better than ever makes this a non-issue, especially when considering that you can still run on a torn MCL.

There is a stark difference between injured and hurt. Every athlete that has ever laced up has played through hurt before. Pain can be an all-too-common part of sports. An injury is a different story, and these almost always imply that a player can’t play through them.

If this were another player, perhaps it would be labeled an injury, but Brady is different. It is entirely fair to say that Brady played through the whole season hurt, but which players honestly aren’t in the game of football?

It is also entirely unfair that the Buccaneers and Brady are singled out as if they are the only team to start a player that wasn’t in pain. It seems oddly convenient that PFT didn’t make a huge deal about the reports that came out from Brittany Brees that her husband was far more hurt during the season than everyone thought.

We seemed to celebrate Drew Brees’ resilience, as we should, but we also have to show the exact same support to Tom Brady, but Bucs fans already know that this won’t happen.

Regardless, the Buccaneers still have the Lombardi, Tom Brady is at the top of his game and on a path that appears unstoppable (maybe this writer needs to get on TB12 as well), and Tampa is primed to prove everyone wrong in a push for a repeat Super Bowl victory.

Bucs fans, celebrate the moment. Most franchises only dream of a 2020 season like we just experienced, and now it will live in infamy forever.

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5 reasons Bucs quarterback Tom Brady will be better this season

Tampa Bay Times 16 July, 2021 - 12:44pm

Not only did he win Super Bowl 55 during a pandemic, learning a new offense and teammates, but now we know Brady added to his legend by playing with a torn medial collateral ligament.

It was a knee injury he sustained in his final season with the Patriots. Brady decided to gut it out and passed for 4,633 yards with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions during the regular season, then added 1,061 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions in the playoffs.

Imagine if he had two healthy legs. Now you can. Brady is expected to make a full recovery and won’t have to spend as much time getting his knee in shape to play on Sundays.

The last thing opponents want to hear is that Brady, who turns 44 on Aug. 3, is getting better with age. But there’s little evidence to the contrary.

Brady has never made plays outside the pocket or used his legs to pick up yards. But toward the end of the 2020 season, he had to miss some practice time to rest his barking knee.

For a guy who is such a gym rat, more time on task means Brady can spend more time in the film room or working with teammates.

Here are four more reasons to feel great about the GOAT:

No matter what you say about the two-headed monster of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette at running back, neither does a very good job as a pass catcher. In fact, they had seven drops apiece last season (more than Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski and Scotty Miller combined), many on third down.

Few quarterbacks have utilized running backs in the passing game as much as Brady.

In New England, he always leaned heavily on the guy who could take a check down on third down and move the chains. Give Brady three more plays and he will get you in the end zone. Take his last three years with the Patriots as an example. Brady completed 111 passes to running backs in 2019, 108 in 2018 and 118 in 2017.

The Bucs didn’t ignore that fact. They knew Brady needed a pass-catching running back and they got one: Bengals free agent Giovani Bernard.

A former high school teammate of Patriots running back James White, Bernard is exactly what the Bucs’ offense lacked. He has 342 career catches for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns. We’re not talking about simple screens or swing passes. Bernard can split out wide and run the entire route tree.

Brady is going to feel a lot more comfortable knowing he has an explosive safety valve if teams try to take away the deep ball.

Brown didn’t join the Bucs until he was finished serving an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s player conduct policy. It took him some time to not only become integrated into the offense, but also to work himself into football shape.

Brown got better each week. He caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight games during the regular season. In the playoffs, Brown added eight catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns, including one in Super Bowl 55.

At 33, Brown keeps himself in remarkable shape and gives Brady a quick-twitch receiver who can make yards after the catch. Give him 17 games and he’s likely to produce a 1,000-yard season.

O.J. Howard was off to arguably his best season as a pro. The tight end spent a lot of time gaining Brady’s trust before an Achilles tendon rupture in a comeback win over the Chargers ended his season.

Howard has recommitted himself in terms of his passion and precision. He will play under the club’s fifth-year option, meaning it’s a contract year. No one will be more motivated.

The Bucs’ young coordinator knows Arians’ offense inside and out. The problem is, he doesn’t know what Brady knows. Brady has 21 years of experience under center and has all the answers to the test.

After one season together, Leftwich is smart enough to turn the game-planning over to his quarterback. Regardless, they have a much better understanding of what the collaboration looks like and a base line to build it back even better.

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