If there’s one teammate who’s always been supportive of Antonio Brown over the past few years, it’s definitely Tom Brady. The Buccaneers quarterback defended the receiver on Monday, just one day after Brown stormed off the field during the third quarter of Tampa Bay’s 28-24 win over the Jets.
However, there’s a chance you won’t hear Brady defending Brown anymore and that’s because the receiver turned on his former QB this week. Brown called out Brady on Thursday for using Alex Guerrero as his personal trainer because Brown felt that Guerrero swindled him out of some money. A few hours after his social media outburst, Brown was officially cut by the Buccaneers.
One of the first Buccaneers players to meet with the media following Brown’s release was none other than Brady and you can probably guess how his press conference went. The first question was about Brown and Brady expertly sidestepped it.
The quarterback was asked if he was “hurt… by what transpired over the past week with Antonio Brown.”
“I think there’s a lot of personal feelings,” Brady told the media. “I don’t think this is really the week to discuss it though. I’m just going to do the best I can do as the quarterback of the team and try to put together a great week and finish strong. You just always deal with different things over the course of the season and that’s what we’re doing this week.”
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The most telling part there is that Brady definitely didn’t defend Brown, which is what he had done earlier this week and it seems the two might be in a rift right now. Not only did Brown call out the QB on social media, but during a podcast interview on Friday, Brown insinuated that Brady basically uses him and is only his friend because he’s good at football.
“To me, a friend is someone who’s got your back,” Brown said on the Full Send Podcast. “Not everybody in sports is going to be your friend. Tom Brady’s my friend why? Because I’m a good football player. He needs me to play football. People have different meanings of what friendship is.”
Brown also claimed during the same interview that Brady was the one who helped him hammer out the details in his Buccaneers’ contract.
“Brady is the general manager,” Brown said. “He’s the guy my agent made the contract with, he’s the middleman and politician. I talked to Tom and he knows I’m not going to play.”
That’s an interesting topic because Brown’s contract included a lot of incentives that he needed Brady’s help to reach. According to Spotrac, Brown had incentives to reach 50 and 70 receptions, 600 and 800 yards. Brown was also set to earn extra pay for hitting five and seven receiving touchdowns.
So how close did he get?
By getting cut this week, he lost out on the chance to earn $1 million in bonus money.
According to Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, Brown was upset at halftime of the Jets game because he didn’t think he was getting enough targets.
“He was very upset at halftime about who was getting targeted,” Arians said, via PFT. “Got that calmed down, players took care of that.”
It’s very possible that Brown was upset because he had a lot of money riding on those targets. According to ESPN.com, Brown’s camp asked for the incentives to become fully guaranteed so that Brown wouldn’t have to hit them, but the Bucs turned him down, which means Brown had to rely on Brady to get him to the receiving numbers he needed to earn the incentives.
Brady was asked if he pays attention to the number of targets that each player is getting the only thing he said is that he’s always trying to get everyone involved.
“I think you’d always like to target, you want to get everyone involved, obviously,” Brady said. “I think the receiver position there is always — they’re a long ways from the football, when you stand out there. As a quarterback, you honestly do the best you can do. You try to read the coverage, try to find the open guy and realize that guys are going to be open and unfortunately don’t get it sometimes, and other times you make bad reads, and you make bad throws. Just part of playing football and playing quarterback.”
Although Brady clearly wanted to see Brown succeed in Tampa Bay, it now appears that he’s moved on and there’s a good chance we won’t be hearing the quarterback talk about his ex-teammate anymore going forward.