Picking out what to believe about Bucs

by Gary Shelton on April 4, 2022

in general

Brady has had rumors tag along behind him./TAMPA BAY BUCS

Monday, 4 a.m.

In life, there are things we know. There are things we can prove. There are things we suspect.

And, yes, there are things we simply believe.

I believe Oswald acted alone. I believe the moon landing was legitimate. I believe that if the NFL expanded by 487 teams, Antonio Brown still wouldn't get a job on account of being bat-guano crazy and all.

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And, when it comes to the trail of rumors that has tagged along at Tom Brady's heels this off-season, I have my theories, too. I do not present them as fact. I do not pretend to be someone with all of those invisible sources. I merely believe what I believe.

Fair enough?

I believe there are wisps of smoke in a lot of rumors, but only wisps. The internet is a medium that deals in exclamation points, and it cares not for subtlety. There is no room for he-might-have-been-mad-on-Monday-but-by-Tuesday-all-was-cool-again clicks. On the net, a kernel of truth can lead to a mountain of a rumor, and when they kernel slips out, the chucklehead who suggested it was a mountain gets to act like he was right all along.

And so it is with the Bucs' off-season soap opera, one that lets us all believe what we want to believe. It is a story of half-truths and evasion and shady allegations and loud denials, and it is up to us to filter the fact from the fiction.

I believe that Brady bristled some at the head coaching job turned in by Bruce Arians. That's not an outlandish statement. Right or wrong, most of us cringe at the suggestions of our bosses. I'm sure Gandhi's second-in-command didn't like the way he sat or something. Big deal.

I believe that Sherlock Holmes could not find any evidence of Brady's attitude, however. Brady is cautious in how much he says, and he rarely says anything of substance. But it is noticeable that for all the recruiting that Brady has done this off-season, evidently none of it was in the direction of Arians. No "Come on, Bruce. Let's give it one more ride."

I believe that the Glazers listened to the friction and asked both men about it. I believe they thought that kicking Arians' upstairs was a perfect compromise. Arians wins. Todd Bowles wins. Brady wins. And the Bucs keep winning.

I believe that picking his successor was indeed important to Arians. I belive he's 70 and could see the end of the hall. I believe a consulting job is about as good as an aging coach can do.

I believe that Brady would have preferred to have dealt with Brown's meltdown himself. Everyone knew Brown was hurt -- of courses they did -- but I don't believe that was the major issue that day. I believe Brown wanted more catches to bolster his chances of a bigger payday. I believe I might bust my spleen laughing when I read headlines that say that Brown is envious of the money Tyreek Hill an Devante Adams got.

I believe Brady never made an ultimatum about Arians. Yes, he could have let it be known that he might be more likely come back if there was a head coaching change, but I don't think it was contingent on that. But I believe the Glazer family might have weighed the two men and decided the franchise was better off without Arians than Brady. I believe I agree with them.

I believe the rumors about Brady going to San Francisco are all hogwash. The 49ers have invested heavily in quarterback Trey Lance. To throw him overboard, they would be have to be certain that Brady can bring a Super Bowl title with him. In the NFL, the odds are always against any one team winning it. Who knows? Maybe Brady said aloud once that it would be nice to finish his career in his hometown, but that's a long way from teams negotiating a trade.

I believe the Miami rumors started when Brady briefly retired and checked out ownership of the Dolphins. He backed off quickly, but rumors travel on their own time. Suddenly, the internet was filled with rumors that he was negotiating his own deal with Miami. No one asked about a price, they just went with the rumor.

I believe Brady is an easy target. I think there is a definite backlash to how much love he gets nationally. I believe it's considered cool not to believe him. I believe the internet is stuffed with the state of his marriage and the shape of his diet. I think a great many critics will be amused when Brady finally does get old.

I believe this, too. Brady is the biggest winner in modern-day sports. He doesn't do drugs. He praises his opponents.

I believe that ought to be enough.

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