Few were impressed with Tom Brady’s lackluster performance in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, raising questions over the decision to allow him to skip Saturday’s walkthrough to attend the wedding of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Head coach Todd Bowles denied the notion that it impacted his game but Super Bowl champion and former Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth says he was “bothered” by the decision, calling the walkthrough a “pivotal day.”
“I’m going to be honest – It’s probably not a fun take to say, but to me, it bothered me. It really did,” Whitworth said on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” Monday. “Just for me, I think what Tom’s always been known as is the guy who’s like: ‘You will never outwork me. You will never out-prepare me. I will outwork anybody in this business.’ And I think every one of those guys looks up to [him] in that way.”
BUCS’ TODD BOWLES SAYS NO ‘SPECIAL TREATMENT’ FOR TOM BRADY AFTER MISSING WALKTHROUGH FOR ROBERT KRAFT WEDDING
Whitworth went on to discuss his own reasons for retiring from the NFL after 16 seasons, explaining that while he was still playing at a high level, he was no longer willing to make the necessary commitments.
“One of the things that made me retire is I got to that point mentally where I was like, ‘You know what? I don’t always want to be here and I don’t always want to do this. I know I can go out and play well, but I don’t ever want to be a disservice to the guys who look up to me.’”
“It just bothered me because that’s how I look up to Tom Brady… That’s a pivotal day to get ready and prepare.”
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Brady attended Kraft’s wedding to businesswoman Dana Blumberg in Manhattan on Friday night and missed the team’s walkthrough the following day, raising questions about whether the trip played a role in the Bucs’ 20-18 loss.
Bowles denied that it impacted Brady’s performance on Sunday, saying “he didn’t miss anything.” The following day, the Bucs head coach noted that many players are excused for similar reasons, but they aren’t “publicized” nearly as much as they are for Brady.
“He works as hard as anybody,” Bowles said. “Special treatment – there’s been a few guys that have missed some meetings and some practices for some special things that just doesn’t get publicized because they’re not him. It kind of comes with the territory. You don’t worry about it too much.”
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But Whitworth disagreed, highlighting the importance of the walkthroughs.
“It matters a bunch because it’s our last time together. We go get on a plane and the next thing you know – we’re playing football. So, that’s our last moment together, on the field together, talking through plays.”