Tom Brady states that 90 percent of what he says to the media is not what he's actually thinking. His answers are often the opposite of what he really believes. Once before retiring he plans to emulate Marshawn Lynch's infamous tag line: I'm just here so I won't get fined.
"That was the most beautiful thing," Brady beamed. "He put no mental energy into any question and he didn't get fined for that."
These were among the few revelations during an ironically candid appearance on HBO's The Shop. The latest episode aired Friday and opened with Brady, in mid-story, relaying how an NFL team initially expressed interest in him during last year's free agency before passing on the future Hall of Famer. Brady, as seen in a trailer that went viral earlier this week, was incredulous that the undisclosed team opted to keep its incumbent starter.
"I'm sitting there thinking, you're sticking with that (expletive)?" Brady scoffed. "Are you serious?"
While it remains unclear which quarterback Brady is referencing, there are only so many possibilities. Just a handful of teams other than the Buccaneers were reported or rumored to be in the Brady sweepstakes in 2020 -- that list includes the Bears, Chargers, Raiders, Rams, Saints, Titans and 49ers -- and two can easily be ruled out. The Chargers did not have a starter in place when Brady chose the Bucs, and Brees, a fellow future HOFer and Saints legend, had just declared he would be returning to New Orleans.
The brief segment concludes with Brady offering a final clue possibly hinting at Team X being Chicago or Las Vegas, given that neither made the playoffs in 2019 whereas San Francisco and L.A. played in the previous two Super Bowls and Tennessee was coming off an AFC title game appearance after beating Brady's Patriots.
"I look back, I'm like, there's no (expletive) way I would have went to that team," Brady said. "But they said they didn't want me, and I know what that means. I know what that feels like and I'm going to (expletive) you up because of that."
Brady's bluntness drew several laughs from the cast, which included NBA star Draymond Green, musician Kid Cudi and comedian Chelsea Handler. With LeBron James absent from the episode, co-host Maverick Carter recalled a previous discussion from the show in which he declared Brady the greatest athlete of all time. James had objected, deeming the seven-time Super Bowl champion the greatest football player but disqualifying him from all-sport consideration because he doesn't play offense and defense.
Carter pressed Brady for his thoughts on James' stance, prompting the player most often called the G.O.A.T. of the gridiron to humbly put his contributions in context.
"I'm not a big comparison thing like that and it's because really it just depends what style you like," Brady said. "You could say, well, you're maybe the most accomplished. I would say, OK, yeah, I've won a lot of games, Super Bowls and so forth. But my style of play might not fit everybody else's, what their view of what that position should be. I can really just be the best with the body that I was given. There's certain things that I certainly cannot do. And I have the awareness to realize, OK, I can't do those things.
"You can't do everyone else's job. I can't block, tackle, run, catch. I sure as hell can't run. But I can throw the (expletive) out of the ball. So let me just do that, and let me do that really well. And if I can do that, then the team certainly can use me for that."
The 43-year-old Brady could still do it during the 2020 season, with the Bucs getting better QB play than all but a few teams in the NFL, including the seven aforementioned and the Patriots, en route to winning the Super Bowl. It was an achievement that further separated him from just about all of his athletic peers.
And brought more media his way.