Ben Volin, who covered Brady's final seven seasons with the New England Patriots for the Boston Globe, told Colin Cowherd on The Herd last week that he was present at the Bucs' practice last Wednesday (August 10) and questioned whether Brady was second-guessing his decision to come out of retirement.
“I do wonder where his head is at right now,” Volin said. “The older Brady gets, the less we criticize and wonder if he can actually play. I mean, he was so good at 44, there's no doubt in our minds that if Brady is fully committed that he can have a terrific season at 45, but there are definitely signs that his head isn't fully into it. And, I try not to be the body language police, but I was at Bucs practice yesterday, and he looked miserable.”
Volin then speculated whether the situation in Tampa was ideal for Brady, specifically noting the recent retirement of longtime Patriots and Buccaneers teammate Rob Gronkowski and the recent injury to starting center Ryan Jensen.
“I don’t think he loves the humidity in Tampa; it is very swampy out here every morning. His buddy Gronk has retired, that’s his running mate, that’s his guy, and now he looks all over the field and he’s throwing to Kyle Rudolph. Chris Godwin is banged up, and we’re not sure when he’s going to be himself again. Brady's center goes down.
"There are just a lot of things going on with the team, and we also know playing with the Bucs was not his No. 1 wish this year. If he had gotten his way, he'd be running the Dolphins.”
Brady was absent from the Bucs' practice last Thursday (August 11) and was expected to be away from the team for several days, head coach Todd Bowles said via NFL Network senior insider Ian Rapoport.
"#Bucs QB Tom Brady is not at practice today for personal, non-football reasons," Rapoport tweeted. "Coach Todd Bowles will discuss it after practice, but my understanding is he won't be present for a few days."
Rapoport added that "Brady is fine and the team is on board with his reasons for being absent," but noted that it would "be a little bit" of time before the seven-time Super Bowl champion returns.
Bowles later confirmed that Brady was expected to be away from the team until after the Bucs' preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on August 20, according to Rapoport.
The Buccaneers had already ruled Brady out for their first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins last Saturday (August 13) prior to his reported absence on Thursday.
Brady, who turned 45 last week, announced his retirement, then un-retirement this offseason ahead of his 23rd NFL season.
Brady is the NFL's all-time passing leader for yards (84,520) and touchdowns (624), as well as quarterback wins (243), among numerous other records.
The San Mateo native spent his first 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, leading the franchise to an NFL record six Super Bowl championships (tied with the Steelers), before joining the Buccaneers as a free agent in March 2020, which resulted in Tampa Bay winning its second Super Bowl in franchise history, becoming the first NFL team to win a Super Bowl in its home stadium, in February 2021.