Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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An Inspirational Encounter Between Mike Evans & Lifelong Bucs Fan, Jason Licht on SportsCenter & Keeping Up with Gronk | Carmen Catches Up

Wide receiver Mike Evans surprised lifelong fan Marco Solis, who is currently battling cancer, with a video call this week and it’s hard to say who left the call more inspired. General Manager Jason Licht also talked to Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter about the pairing of Head Coach Bruce Arians and Tom Brady. Plus, Rob Gronkowski is everywhere.


-Wide receiver Mike Evans surprised Marco Solis, a 23-year-old lifelong Bucs fan who was diagnosed with cancer last year. His dream was to meet his favorite player, Mike Evans, and Evans made that come true this week as best he could. Evans facetimed Marco, who was in his hospital bed at Moffitt Cancer Center, surrounded by his family and healthcare team. Evans said hello to the doctors and nurses in the room and they talked football and life. Marco's positivity despite getting an unfortunate prognosis from the doctors was incredibly inspirational. Evans himself got a little choked up, saying, "My man," after hearing the excitement in Marco's voice. The optimist and positivity radiated from Marco over to the team, too. The last line of the below clip, you hear Marco say, "Yeah but who can beat the Bucs? Nobody!" as he laughs. It's an example of how such a small gesture can bring joy to people battling incredible circumstances and gives us all a reminder of perspective, especially during this time.

-General Manager Jason Licht appeared on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt Thursday night, talking about the pairing of Head Coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady. Licht called it 'a perfect marriage,' citing their parallel mindsets as the reason they fit so well at this point in time together.

"We have a head coach [Bruce Arians] that, to be quite frank, isn't gonna be here for the next 15, 20 years coaching the Buccaneers," said Licht, as transcribed by ESPN.com. "So, I think it was actually a perfect marriage: You've got two guys that have got something to prove; they want to win, they want to win now; they've got the same mindset."

While Licht stressed the sense of urgency of the two, he dismissed it being overwhelming or 'crippling' as Van Pelt had put it. The goal is to win a Super Bowl every year, after all. The only difference is that people now expect the Bucs to be contenders in 2020 after the arrival of Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Those expectations are something that Arians himself has said he embraces. He also had to know that they would come with the territory of signing a big-name free agent like Brady. Something that Licht, who was a part of drafting Brady in New England during one of two stints with the Patriots himself, thinks was only possible because of Arians.

"Getting Tom here, quite frankly, started with hiring Bruce last year," Licht said. "I don't know if we would be in this situation right now without Bruce Arians as our head coach. And they're kind of living parallel lives right now; they've got something to prove, and they want to do it now."

-Tom Brady may have spent his entire career up until this point in the AFC East, but that doesn't mean he isn't familiar with some part of his new division. According to New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton on Instagram live with Kay Adams, he and Brady have exchanged some friendly banter via text about the two teams' Week One matchup. In a quote appearing on NOLA.com, Payton said he texted Brady, "#KeepTheCannonsQuiet" to which Brady wrote back that the Saints are in fact, the favorites. This was after Payton had also joked that he had the Tampa parks department on speed dial after hearing about Brady getting kicked out of a closed park a few weeks ago.

We've heard how much Brady likes to trash talk, and it looks like he and some around the NFC South are already starting for this coming season.

-"The Match II" is coming this weekend where Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson will be facing off with Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning for a charity tournament benefitting COVID-19 relief agencies. The golf game will take place outside of Palm Beach, Florida at The Medalist on Sunday, May 24. It will be broadcast live on TNT and TBS with digital coverage provided by Bleacher Report.

-Tight end Rob Gronkowskiappeared on the Late, Late Show with James Corden to promote his new game show with Venus Williams and drink a disgusting protein shake. Corden also interviewed the 10-year NFL veteran and asked him about Tom Brady's reaction to Gronkowski coming out of retirement and what role Brady played in the decision.

Gronk being Gronk told the story beautifully, albeit a little perhaps dramatic.

"All of a sudden he just screams on the phone, 'ROB! I just want you to come back and play with me!" Gronkowski told Corden. "And I was like oh, all right, I'll come back then, Tom."

And that was apparently that. No word on if his version of the story is how it actually went down. Gronk told Ellen on her show that his main reason for coming back was his mom who lives just a couple hours south in Ft. Myers but either way, it seems like Florida Gronk is a match made in sunny, sandy heaven.

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