Tom Brady’s surprising 11-day absence from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp this month showed how times have changed.
The Bucs only announced that he left for “personal reasons” and coach Todd Bowles only said it was preplanned. According to reports, it turns out he had planned a family vacation while he was retired for two months and wanted to keep that commitment.
The Bucs handled it well and had no objections. It is not like he needed a full training camp. In effect, their attitude was like the line in the commercial, “We’ll leave the light on for you.”
Contrast their attitude to what happened in 1966 when Jim Brown was making the movie “The Dirty Dozen” in England and there were delays in the filming.
Owner Art Modell didn’t leave the light on for him. He started fining Brown $100 a day (Brown was making $60,000) and said he would suspend him if he didn’t report by July 17.
So Jim Brown wrote him a letter saying he was retiring and never played again. And and just like that, the league lost one of its biggest stars at age 30.
The Bucs weren’t going to make that mistake. Brady is 45 and already retired for a couple of months at the end of last season before deciding he wanted to return. They let him call his own shots.
Once he returned, things seemed back to normal until he departed during camp. While he was gone, there were all kinds of wild speculations that he might be doing something like appearing on The Masker Singer. That made no sense, but it took on a life of its own. The family vacation seemed the most logicial reason.
If Brown were making a movie today, his team probably would have left the light on for him.
Meanwhile, the Browns have never made it to the championship game much less won it since he left. Kind of the Browns version of the Curse of the Bambino.