TAMPA – Apparently, nothing will stop Tom Brady and the Bucs from preparing for the 2020 season.
There is no recent confirmation that at least two Bucs players and an assistant coach have tested positive for COVID-19. It’s not the NFL Players Association’s stern recommendation on Saturday that players “stop practicing together” until the start of training camps next month.
It is not the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases that doctors warn that Florida could become the epicenter of the virus.
On Tuesday, Brady took at least a dozen Bucs players to a field at Berkeley High School for a two-hour workout that started around 7 a.m.
Wearing a helmet, shoulder pads, and the orange contactless T-shirt, Brady organized the usual assortment of exercises at the private school that has become his off-season home. Practices have become routine during a time when players are not allowed in the NFL team’s training facilities.
But on Saturday, the Bucs confirmed that “there were people who tested positive for COVID-19 at the AdventHealth Training Center,” less than 48 hours after one of the team’s assistant coaches tested positive and two other assistants were quarantined. .
The same day, NFLPA medical director Dr. Thom Mayer issued a statement recommending that players stop “practicing together” until the start of training camps in late July.
“Please note that it is our agreed medical opinion that, in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states, that no player should participate in private practice training,” Mayer wrote. “Our goal is for all players and their families to be as healthy as possible in the coming months.
“We are working on the best mitigation procedures on the team site for both the training grounds and next season and we believe it is in the best interest of all players to advise against any voluntary joint practice before camp begins. of training”.
In fact, two days ago, Bucs coach Bruce Arians participated in a video for Hillsborough County where he gave some safety tips to fans on how to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“During these difficult times, it is important that we all demonstrate that we care about the health of our community,” says Arians in the video. ” COVID-19 could be spread without knowing it. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance from each other. Stay strong and go to Bucs. “
Mayer’s recommendation came amid an increase in COVID-19 positives among NFL players and team employees.
In addition to the Bucs’ players and coach testing positive, a 49ers player who was training with his teammates in Nashville, several Texans and Cowboys players, including running back Ezekiel Elliott, and Broncos defender Kareem Jackson tested positive for the virus. .
Brady posted photos of the training, including a stop alongside tight end Rob Gronkowski, which read “No Excuses.”
When asked about the Bucs’ training Tuesday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy referred to a statement the league made in May. “All NFL associates must follow the recommendations and guidelines of state and local authorities and medical experts, including the NFLPA.”
What started out as mostly offensive players working at Berkeley Prep has turned into almost a gathering of skill players on both sides of football.
On Tuesday, it was apparent that Brady’s training has grown substantially over the past month to include defensive backs like cornerbacks Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and safety Mike Edwards, along with the usual group of catchers like Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller. and Gronkowski. Quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin, and center Ryan Jensen, also attended Berkeley Prep practice and participated Tuesday.
A couple of weeks ago, Arians spoke about Brady’s leadership and how he has joined his teammates during these non-team sanctioned workouts.
“I love it. It is exactly who he is and who he is,” Arians said. “It’s a great interaction from those guys who help him learn what we do through Zoom meetings and then get him out on the field. It’s a great job. as a team for what we can do right now. I applaud you for starting, and more and more guys are joining. “
Brady got off to a rocky start after signing a two-year, $ 50 million contract with the Bucs in March. He was kicked out of the closed Tampa park during training and entered the wrong house looking for offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who lived next door.
But Brady has shown the momentum and determination that have allowed him to win six Super Bowl rings in 20 seasons with the Patriots since arriving in Tampa Bay.
“The way he runs our workouts is like practice,” running back Dare Ogunbowale said in The Zach Gelb Show. “Instead of just telling us to do a dig (route) or something like that, it tells us the full game call. It is doing its cadence as if we were in a game. He is making adjustments, doing the hots and the views. With a guy like him, it’s really easy to build chemistry and emulate that whole practice environment. “
Arians said the Bucs hope to have a quarterback and rookie orientation school on July 15. The Bucs players plan to report on July 21.