During his time in the NFL, Tom Brady owned the New York Jets with a 30-7 record. But, from Gang Green’s perspective, what about the famous cliche saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them?”
That union would have previously seemed impossible, but things are a bit different these days. TB12 has finally retired, and an unfortunate injury has sent Jets’ starter Aaron Rodgers to the sidelines.
And while New York has said that Zach Wilson is their man, it’s tough to overlook the possibility of adding a living legend to the roster. Brady, for his part, has shot down the idea of returning to the gridiron, although his recent comments on the issue didn’t exactly sound definitive.
So, what did TB12 say exactly? Let’s check it out.
Brady Could Have Been More Forceful Denying the Jets
While he didn’t always produce exciting soundbites during his playing career, Brady now regularly finds himself in front of a microphone. The former quarterback is a key part of the Let’s Go podcast, where he appears alongside Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray.
On the latest September 18 episode, the conversation started with Gray asking Brady if the NY Jets had called him and if he’d be open to donning green.
“Nah. No, no, no,” TB12 seemed to say, although that part of his response was muffled by the end of Gray’s question. “Next question.”
Gray then noted that the topic was “asked and answered,” before his co-host jumped back in.
“You already know,” TB12 added. “I love being with you guys on Monday, and I love what we got going.”
Given the previous reporting from journalists such as Dianna Russini, Brady’s response does enough to connect the dots. We’ve heard various forms of denial, and now the former quarterback said some form of no (albeit masked by cross talk) before turning the page.
But this is the world of sports we’re talking about. Speculation and rumors are simply part of the deal. To that end, Brady should have known better as someone who’s been around the block more than a few times.
His quote was far from definitive, and the fact that his most direct denial was masked by Gray’s voice didn’t help matters. For an illustration of that, just click around the internet. An SI.com story transcribed Brady’s response as “No, no, no,” and said he “bluntly” answered the question.
CBS Sports’ version of events, however, completely omits the “no,” while noting, “he MIGHT have mumbled ‘No,’ but it was difficult to tell.”
And that’s from two big-time sports outlets. Imagine the conversation that’s going on in group chats and at sports bars based on one person simply listening to the podcast.
Newsweek has reached out to Don Yee, who was Brady’s longtime NFL agent, for comment.
Again, there’s nothing concrete to suggest that Brady would join the Jets. Gang Green’s head coach has publicly stood behind Wilson. We’ve seen reliable reporting that neither party really wants to join forces. A move toward NFL ownership isn’t official just yet, but it does suggest Brady is ready to turn the page.
And, even if he wanted to join the Jets, would he be able to step in and make a difference tomorrow? Or would he take a few weeks to warm up, thereby limiting the benefit of having him under center?
But, TB12 didn’t directly say “No, I’m not interested” when handed a golden opportunity to do so. And, given his previous hesitancy to retire, that lack of a concrete response will only fuel further speculation.
Ironically, a Jets-Patriots Game Can Shape the Chatter
Until Brady definitively shuts down rumors linking him to Gang Green, the chatter will probably continue. With that being said, Week 3’s Patriots-Jets game could also shape the narrative going forward.
After facing both the Bills and the Cowboys, this is Zach Wilson’s most winnable game. A strong performance could earn the Brigham Young University product some goodwill and quiet the calls for a replacement, at least temporarily.
On the other hand, though, another ugly performance would lay the Jets’ issues bare. This game, while not a gimme, is still the easiest outing to date. If Wilson can’t get it done against the (nominally) weakest team in the AFC East, what hope does he have of getting New York to the postseason? And, if that’s the case, what’s the harm in replacing him?
At this point, we’ll just have to see how the on-field action plays out. It’s safe to assume, though, that Brady’s name will come up at least a few times on Sunday afternoon.