Sometimes, it feels like Tom Brady is immortal.
After a “serious” offseason knee surgery, the 43-year-old quarterback took the field and “went full speed” during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first day of mandatory minicamp.
“He looked fine. I had to pull him out a couple [times],” coach Bruce Arians told the media Tuesday. “That first period, I said, ‘Okay, you can have four [reps].’ And he kept begging to go back in. But the only thing I didn’t want him in was the blitz period, where some guys might get around him too quick.”
Brady was cleared by team doctors to practice and told Arians he felt healthy.
“They both said he was good to go,” Arians said. “We’d still be careful with what we’re doing with him. Trying to stop him from playing is pretty tough.”
Last week, Arians said Brady would be in a coaching role during camp, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion had none of it. He dove right in, fully participating in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 workouts, looking like his usual self.
Brady’s teammates are looking out for their leader as he recovers from his knee surgery. Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs — a member of an offensive line that allowed only 21 sacks last season — is making sure players stay away from Brady when possible.
“Especially having Tom Brady back there, that’s always in your mind — just making sure nobody comes close to him or gets near him,” Wirfs told reporters during his press conference. “But he told us — I remember he told us last year — he said, ‘Don’t get beat fast and don’t get beat inside and we’ll be alright.’ So I kind of held onto that pretty tightly last year. But no, it’s really cool having him back there.
“You want to keep him safe. You don’t want anything to happen to him.”
The Buccaneers — the first Super Bowl champion in NFL history to bring back every starter — will rely on Brady in their repeat quest. If he can stay healthy, it will be a big boost.