Even before Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht famously said at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month he was “going to leave the light on” regarding seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady returning for at least one more season, there were all kinds of rumors out there suggesting the 44-year-old hadn’t taken his last snap. Less than two full weeks later, Brady ended his retirement and confirmed via social media he was back as Tampa Bay’s QB1.
At Monday’s media event related to star wide receiver Chris Godwin signing a three-year deal reportedly worth $60 million with $40 million guaranteed to remain with the Buccaneers, Licht suggested he had a positive feeling the G.O.A.T. wouldn’t ride off into the sunset following the January playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
“In this business, you have to be ready to expect the unexpected, but you also have to have plans either way,” Licht explained about possibly preparing for life after Brady, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. “There was nothing I could do about it at that point. We had a lot of faith in thinking that he might change his mind and come back, but we had to have plans either way.
“Now when he decided he was gonna unretire and we had several conversations – myself and (head coach Bruce Arians) was a major part of that – there was a sense that it could happen but didn’t have any definites until later on…I had talked to him and Bruce and knew that he was gonna put a statement out. It was a great day.”
Licht added he felt a “sense of relief” upon learning of Brady’s true intentions.
“I think probably the same as anybody, any fan here has, and any person on the staff here,” Licht said. “We’re all excited. Why wouldn’t you be?”
Meanwhile, Godwin admitted he received a text message on March 13 from Brady in a group chat with fellow receiver Mike Evans in which the future Hall-of-Famer told his teammates he was coming back roughly 20 minutes before the signal-caller confirmed the news via what became famous social-media posts.
Godwin signed his contract three days later as some were asking questions about who may have known about Brady’s return before NCAA Selection Sunday.