Below is a transcript from Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady's introductory conference call. Full audio can be found on Buccaneers.com.
General Manager Jason Licht
"I would like to thank you guys for joining us today. Obviously, this is a little bit of a different format due to what is going on around the world. But, as we continue to work through free agency and prepare for the draft, we are still very mindful of the people who are affected by the current landscape around the world. We hope that life will return to normal for all of us soon."
"To say that this is an exciting day for the Buccaneers organization – and me personally – would be a rather large understatement. Tom is, quite simply, the greatest quarterback to play the game of football. Any time you can add someone of his caliber, you instantly make your organization better. He's got a long list of truly remarkable accomplishments in his career – frankly, too many to mention here. Going after Tom in free agency was our number one priority this offseason because we knew he would be a perfect fit for what we are trying to do here. He is a Buccaneer today not for what he has done in the past, but for what we know he can accomplish here in the near future as well. We know that Tom is going to have a transformative effect in our locker room and he is going to demand the best out of himself, his teammates and anybody that is around him. I'd also, at this point, like to thank the Glazer family for providing us with the resources and the leadership to make such a bold move in free agency. We wouldn't be here today if not for their passion and desire to win another Super Bowl – and hopefully more – for our fans. This was an all-out effort from every level of the organization – from scouts, to coaches, to front office and especially ownership. Today we begin a new era for the Buccaneers that will define our franchise for many years to come."
Head Coach Bruce Arians
"To echo what Jason said, I hope you are healthy, your families are healthy, and you are dealing with this crisis that we are going through. Hopefully football can be a little bit of a bright light for the upcoming days and months ahead. Like Jason said, I am extremely excited. I wish we could start practice tomorrow, but we can't obviously. To have Tom [Brady] lead our football team into the future – I've been very, very blessed as a coach to have been around some of the great ones. Now to have the greatest one of all time, not because, to me, of what he does on the field, but because of what he does for his teammates. He makes everyone better that walks into that huddle. Really, I'm just excited to get started."
Quarterback Tom Brady
"All right guys, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time today. This is an exciting moment for me in my life, entering something that's obviously very unique to me, as it's the first time it's happened in 20 years. I'm kind of taking it day-by-day. The expectation is for me is to come in and do what I feel is right for the organization and that's to be a great team player. I'm going to try to do everything I can to get up to speed with all of the things that I need to do and what my responsibilities are. I obviously have a ton of trust and respect for Coach [Bruce] Arians [and] for Jason [Licht] and what he has done to build the team and the organization as it is now. I'm thankful to the Glazer family for giving me an opportunity. As I said the other day, I look forward to meeting all of my teammates and doing everything I can for us to achieve what we set out [to do]. There are a lot of things that go into it. As soon as we can get those things going, the greater it will be for everybody. But understanding the circumstances of what we're dealing with, we're in a little different approach and we're going to have to adjust as is what happens in football and in life. That's what my plan is."
(On what he can do to change things in Tampa Bay and to help the Buccaneers return to being a playoff-caliber football team)
"I think, obviously where I've been, I've learned a great deal. As I move forward, like I said the other day, no one cares what you did in the past. They don't care what you did last year, five years ago or 10 years ago. I think hopefully the knowledge I have with my experience playing quarterback will allow me to transition quickly. There are a lot of things I've got to get up to speed on. Obviously, learning different terminology – that is a unique challenge that I haven't faced, but it's one that I'm looking forward to, also. Again, I'm not going to make a bunch of predictions to where I've been. I go in looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the new coaches and the new players that I'll be playing with, and I'm going to go out and give it everything I've got."
(On what gave him the confidence to know that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization was the right fit)
"I don't want to get into every process to the decision I was making at the time, but there were a lot of things that really were intriguing to me about the organization – the players, and the coaches and the willingness of everyone to try to accomplish what the goal of playing football is, which is to win. I'm going to try to do everything I can in my position and in what I am responsible for to make it happen. I've got to trust that everyone else is doing the exact same thing. That part is no different from what I've experienced in 20 years of my own role."
(On how attractive Head Coach Bruce Arians' 'no risk it, no biscuit' offensive mentality is to him)
"I've obviously paid attention to him and his offense for a long time. Everybody has somewhat different styles and philosophies on how to call things and so forth. Football, to me, is about throwing the ball to the guy that is open. If he is open deep, that is where you throw it and if he's open short, you throw it there. If he is open outside, you throw it there. If they are open inside, that's where you throw it. You get the ball to the guy who can do something with it. There are some really talented players here on this offense that have very unique skill sets and it's really my responsibility – I have one ball and I've got to be able to deliver that ball to the guy who can do something with it. There is a lot of ground to make up because I haven't worked with these players. I'm going to have to learn what they do, and their body language and how they like things. That's part of the challenge. It's unfortunate what we're going through in our world. It presents different challenges for all of us, so again, as soon as we have the opportunity to all be together in one place, we can really start working toward that. That's what I'm going to do."
(On if there was something that he saw on film that led him to believe that Tampa Bay was the right fit for him)
"There is not one single thing that got me to the point where I'm at today. In playing quarterback for a long time, that's what I do is I watch film and I study. I try to learn, I try to grow and I try to evolve every year. I've watched this offense over a long period of time – with a lot of different quarterbacks – have a lot of success. It's a great offense for the quarterback. It's a great offense for the receivers, for the tight ends and for the running backs. There's been a lot of great players who have been a part of working with Coach Arians. It's for me to come in and to understand the things I've got to learn to be successful within what we are all trying to do, and what we collectively do well. It's not about what one player does well. Great offenses aren't about one player. Great offenses are about every guy being on the same page and playing with confidence and anticipation. Until you can get to work on doing those things – for me getting a lot of those logistical things out of the way is important because there is a tactical aspect I've got to get to that I've really got to get up to speed on. It's going to be a busy offseason for me learning a lot of new things, which is a great challenge and a great opportunity for me. I'm just going to do it the only way I know how to do it, which is just to fully engulf myself in what is done here. It's a new program that I'm a part of and they have their way of doing things. They're committed to winning and I've got to come in and do my part. That's why I'm here."
(On how the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting him personally and professionally)
"There are logistical things that are happening, not just for me – everyone is going through life in a different way right now. There is still a lot of change happening and you've just got to try and manage it as best as possible. Everyone seems to be in different locations, but I think the important part is that everyone is trying to make it work. Everyone is trying to figure out how to adjust and how to adapt to the new reality that we're all facing. You've seen a lot of these other leagues that are being canceled [or] delayed. We as football players, there are aspects of our offseason that have changed and I'm sure will change to a degree. But, that doesn't stop me from figuring out what I've got to do in my professional life to try to still learn the things I need to learn and train the way I need to train. As far as I know, there is nothing that delays the start of our season to this point and I've got to do everything I can to be prepared as I would in an offseason where we weren't dealing with what we're dealing with. Again, I'm not making any predictions about that. I'm just going to take it day-by-day with how I'm doing, and I'm going to try and learn things I need to learn. One day at a time is definitely not a cliché in the way that I'm trying to live my life right now. It's just been a new reality for all of us."
(On if he sees similarities between himself leaving the New England Patriots after 20 years and Joe Montana leaving the San Francisco 49ers after 13 years)
"I was at Joe's last game at Candlestick Park. I actually went up there and saw it with my friend. I'll never forget that. He was an incredible player. He and Steve Young were my quarterback idols growing up. I just think life, it continues to change for all of us. Having the opportunity for me to continue to play football and lead a team is something that I love doing. I've loved playing this sport since I was a kid, since I was throwing footballs in the parking lot at Candlestick. I still love doing that today. I train hard. I try to keep my body as physically fit as possible. Mentally, I try to stay sharp, although it is going to be a different challenge this year in learning. I'm going to do everything I can to do the best I possibly can. I'm just excited to embrace this opportunity and see it for what it is, which is [that] a lot of guys that have been a part of this team, they want to be the best they can be and they want to achieve the highest goal. I've been fortunate to be a part of that. There's no way to do it – you can't talk your way into it. It's a lot of hard work, it's a lot of commitment and it's a lot of people that are just aligned trying to do the right thing. Again, I don't know when our first OTA will be, but I'm sure there will be a lot of guys [there] that I am excited to meet. I'm going to try to get the best out of myself and the best out of them. It's all going to be dependent on the guys in the building and in the facility to make it happen."
(On leaving the New England Patriots)
"I'm not responsible for how other people will say certain things. I think Mr. Kraft has been a great influence in my life and I'm so grateful for two decades [with New England]. I referenced that the other day. It's been an amazing thing for my family and I'm sure when I'm done playing I'll look back and have a chance to reevaluate my entire career, but at the same time I'm excited for this opportunity that I have. I can only speak about how I feel. I wrote about that in my social media the other day. This was getting to be a free agent and having the opportunity to join the Bucs is something that I was really excited about and that's why we're at where we're at."
(On if was disappointed that the Patriots did not make a competing offer)
"No. I have a great deal of respect for – there's nobody who's a bigger fan of the New England Patriots than me. I have nothing but total respect and love. I'm so grateful to Mr. Kraft and the organization and Coach [Bill] Belichick and all the coaches and obviously all my teammates. It's been a lot of days responding to a lot of incredible text messages from my teammates, from former teammates, from a lot of great people I got to meet over the years. I have so many great relationships that will be maintained and I think that's the greatest gift that football has brought me is the relationships that I've had with so many of the people I've worked with. It'll certainly be different, but at the same time that's the way life can be at times. What won't be different is my approach to the game, my approach to what my roles and responsibilities are and I'm going go out and do the best I can every day and do my best to put this team in a position to win."
Head Coach Bruce Arians
(On what it's like to bring in a free agent like Tom Brady and why he's the right fit)
"Well, I think we do our due diligence every year after a season to see how we can better our football team and better our organization. When we looked at everybody that might be available at the quarterback position, obviously really never dreaming that Tom would be available, but if he was, he was going to be our number one choice. Mainly because he can do everything that we want to do in our offense, but more than that it's his leadership ability that we need in our locker room to get where we want to go. Once that became a reality it was full bore ahead, let's see what we've got to do and see if we can get this done."
Quarterback Tom Brady
(On the unique challenges presented this year and how he plans to get to know his teammates on and off the field)
"I think again, I'm not going to make predictions about how the next few months are going to go and I don't really know what's going to happen and what's predicted with our access to the team facilities and so forth. I'm going to do the best I can to be in conversation with guys and try to get together and find ways to meet up in different places and get to work in that sense. Technology is an amazing thing and we're going to use the technology as best we can to try to get to know each other and for me, they're ahead of me on what they need to know in terms of the offense. So I've really got to get up to speed with the things they already know and their terminology. It's a lot of time and energy, but that's what I love to do. The only way to start it is to start doing it, so that's what I've got to do."
(On what Brady knows about the Tampa Bay area)
"There's a lot of change and it's just that. You go from the northeast to the south. The climate is different. There's a lot of things that will be different. My drive to work will be different. There's a lot of things. It's not like I'm 25 where I basically pack a suitcase and go. I have three kids and it's just changing a little bit of our life, but that's life. That's what people do. That's what you do when you have opportunities and other jobs in other places. There's a lot coaches that deal with that, there's a lot of players that have dealt with that, they deal with it every year, and in that sense I'm no different than what so many other people have gone through. You do the best you can do and make the transition as smooth as possible. Again, for me what's most important is to try and make this a smooth transition with my family, so I can get to work on the things I need to focus on. I hope I can get those things finished here in the next couple of weeks and get up to speed with the things I need to learn. A lot of that is studying the playbook and getting to know my teammates by phone calls until we have the opportunity to be together and try to get to know each other in that type of way."
(On when he decided to move on from New England and how hard it was to tell them)
"It was really the night that I spoke with Mr. Kraft and asked if I could come over and see him. We spoke and had a great conversation and I just wanted to express what he's meant to me in my life. We spoke with Coach Belichick at the same time – we were in different locations, so we talked to him and it was a great conversation. I got a chance to talk to Jonathan Kraft as well. All three of those guys have been involved with so many important decisions in my life – career-related, personal-related – and I leave there with great admiration for the people in that organization. It's a world-class, first-class organization in every way and I wanted to leave it that way too. I know the Patriots have a great team, they always do – they have great players, great leadership, great coaches – and I certainly wish them the best. But for me, I've got to transition and focus on the opportunity that I have to make the current situation I'm in as best as I can. They hired me to do a job here and I'm going to go in there and do it like you've always seen me do for a long time, like the fans have always seen me do, like opposing coaches, my teammates have seen me do. I'm going to give it everything I've got like I've done every day of my life for as long as I've been playing this sport."
(On playing in the NFC South against Drew Brees and Matt Ryan)
"It's a good division with good quarterbacks, very good offenses and very athletic defenses too. Winning the division is always the hard thing to do. These teams know each other so well and I didn't play this division but once every four years, so I've got to learn the players, I've got to learn the schemes. There's a lot of things I have to learn and get up to speed on. That's where all my time and energy will be focused on and also learning my teammates, guys like Mike [Evans] and Chris [Godwin], O.J. [Howard], Cam [Brate]. A lot of skill players – Ronald Jones and obviously the offensive line, who is a very talented group. A lot of things for me to focus on and a lot of time and energy is going to be spent on getting up to speed with the tactical things of how I can do the best job for the team. Anything outside of that is really in essence not a high priority for me. Not to say things are unimportant, it's just I've got to be able to prioritize my time and energy so I can learn what I need to learn and go out there and do a great job for this organization."
(On working with a young coach like Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich)
"I'm excited. We've had a chance to talk a couple times. I've enjoyed getting to know him a little bit. Obviously, we're right around the same age and I watched him play for a long time, competed against him, and he's done an incredible job transitioning into his second career – which is as a coach. It's going to be a lot of fun, so I'm excited to do it. I think Byron gets along with just about everybody he comes in contact with because he's a very personable and outgoing guy. Everyone says great things about him. In my brief experiences talking to him I would say all those things seem to be true. He has great football knowledge and it'll be fun to get to know each other. It'll be fun to talk about football. We both have made huge commitments in our lives to do that and it'll be fun to take on this challenge together."
(On what it would have taken for him to stay in New England)
"I don't want to talk about the past because that's not relevant to what's important in my future and what's going on this offseason for me. Like I said, I had nothing but two decades of incredible experience and learning from some the best players, the best coaches and the ownership of the team. I think for all of us, things in life can change and you've got to be able to adapt and evolve and with each of those changes come different opportunities to learn and grow, and that's where I'm at. Any time you leave somewhere it's emotional and the transition has been very emotional with a lot of guys that I've talked to that I've shared the field with because the relationships are what matter most to me and I'm going to be friends with my teammates, my former teammates and coaches for the rest of my life. That's not going to leave just because I'm wearing a different jersey, but at the same time for me, the new jersey I'm wearing, I'm prepared to give them every bit of commitment I've had my entire career to be the best I could be to give this team be the best it could be. I did say there's not one person that makes a team. It's every single person doing their job every day that's committed and determined to be the best. I'm a very disciplined quarterback and I try to follow through on the things I'm committed to and I try to work every day to be the best I can be. That's what I'm going to try to push my teammates to do and I'm just excited to get started."