PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JUNE 27
By Leo Haggerty

THIS AIN’T NEW ENGLAND

Let me set the stage for you.  It has been obvious that, for the last two decades, there have been two sets of rules in the National Football League.  For whatever reason, there was one for the New England Patriots and the other for the rest of the 31 franchises.  To even attempt to decipher why that exists would take, at least, two encyclicals and that may not even cover the subject with everything the Pats have got away with in the past 20 years.

So, with that being said, a quick memo to new Bucs QB Tom Brady.  You ain’t in New England anymore.  You now fall under the stipulations for the rest of the NFL.  Welcome to Tampa Bay.

In fact, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith expressed his displeasure with #12, as well as Seahawks signal caller Russell Wilson, for organizing workouts with other players.  He emphasized that the two elite quarterbacks were not “acting in the best interest of players safety. They’re not in the best interest of protecting our players heading into training camp, and I don’t think they are in the best interest of us getting through an entire season.”

Why, you ask, was the head honcho of the Players Association so adamant on this issue?  It’s because, last weekend, an advisory went out that these workouts needed to end immediately.

Basically, a “cease and desist” statement from the union to their players from Dr. Thom Mayer, who is the NFLPA’s medical director, on June 20th.  This directive advised players to avoid working out with teammates to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Makes sense to me, right?

Despite this warning, Brady continued to hold workouts at a local high school with his new teammates.  Included in that group was former Patriot and new Buccaneer TE Rob Gronkowski.

According to Smith, “we sent out the guidance because we think that was in their best health and safety interest.  Let’s just say for some players who have practiced, we’ve made sure that they heard the message.”

I applaud Brady’s intiative as he tries to get accustomed to his new teammates.  I do not condone the fact that he is putting himself, and members of the Pewter Pirates, at risk from something that has already killed over 120,000 Americans with over 3,000 of them in Florida alone.

TB12 needs to pump the brakes.  He’ll have plenty of time to get to know the nuances of his offensive compatriots.  No pun intended.

He, along with the rest of the Bucs, need to err on the side of caution.  It’s the right thing to do especially if the Pewter Pirates want to make it through the 2020 regular season and be in the playoffs.

That’s the goal, folks.  The Buccaneers need to keep their “eye on the prize” and that’s playing at Raymond James for the Lombardi Trophy.  End of story.