Sep 18, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) and safety Marcus Maye (6) get into a penalty with Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) and they are ejected after the play during the second half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL levies fines for Saints-Buccaneers skirmish

The NFL fined Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette and New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore $13,367 each for their part in a skirmish between the teams last Sunday, NFL Network reported.

Bucs wideout Mike Evans was suspended Monday by the league for his involvement. He will serve the suspension on Sunday when the Bucs (2-0) host the Green Bay Packers (1-1).

The incident came with 12:49 left in the Buccaneers’ 20-10 victory.

After Lattimore began jawing at Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady, Fournette pushed Lattimore away and Lattimore pushed back. Evans joined the fray — shoving and leveling Lattimore — and engaged with other Saints before the dust settled.

Evans and Lattimore were ejected.

Brady was not fined, NFL Network reported Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands the ball off to running back Leonard Fournette (7) against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs QB Tom Brady ‘full-practice’ amid reports of finger injury

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have quarterback Tom Brady under center against the visiting Green Bay Packers, but the availability of two other important offensive players might not be known until Sunday.

Brady, 45, is expected to regularly take Wednesdays off from practice. However, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Brady was “repeatedly shaking the ring finger of his right hand” during Thursday’s practice. Brady said on his “Let’s Go” podcast released on Monday that he did hurt the finger during last week’s win over New Orleans.

Brady was not listed on the injury report and coach Todd Bowles said on Friday that his quarterback is “ready to go, he’s full-practice. He took every throw.”

Bowles said wide receiver Julio Jones and tackle Donovan Smith could be game-time decisions.

Jones has been dealing with a knee injury while Smith hyperextended his right elbow in the season opener.

Bowles said Smith “tried to practice some” on Thursday and was rested on Friday to see how he feels come game day.

The Bucs definitely will be without wide receiver Mike Evans, who was suspended by the NFL for one game following his altercation against New Orleans last week. Chris Godwin also has not practiced this week due to a hamstring injury.

The team signed veteran Cole Beasley to add depth to the banged-up receiving corps.

“I don’t think it gets impacted too much,” Bowles said when asked how the injuries impact the game plan. “We’ve got guys that have played in this system. Obviously, there are different skill sets for each guy, but the system is the system and we’re going to run it how we run it.”

Bowles did said that running back Leonard Fournette, who has been playing through a minor hamstring injury, has “been fine.”

Fournette has logged 45 of the 53 carries for Bucs running backs through two weeks, with third-round rookie Rachaad White getting the other eight. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who led the team with 109 yards on 29 carries in the preseason, has yet to get a touch on offense during the regular season.

“He got better in every aspect of his ball game and it will be exciting when he gets his chance to play,” Bowles said of Vaughn. “Depending on the game plan and what we do depends on whether he plays more or less that week, but in the meantime he’ll work on special teams and when he gets his shot to go in there I expect to see the same Ke’Shawn I saw in the preseason.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Brady breaks: Bucs QB reportedly to rest every Wednesday

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will take Wednesdays off throughout the season, NFL Network reported Sunday.

The oldest starting quarterback in NFL history at 45, Brady did not practice last Wednesday as the Buccaneers (1-0) prepared for Sunday’s game in New Orleans. It was listed as a rest day for the veteran.

That will be the standard procedure going forward during Brady’s 23rd NFL season, according to the report.

Brady and the Bucs opened the season with a 19-3 win at Dallas last Sunday night. The seven-time Super Bowl champion completed 18 of 27 passes for 212 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

He needs 268 yards against the Saints to become the first NFL player to reach 85,000 career passing yards.

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts during the first half against the Los Angeles Rams in a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Coach: Tom Brady to return this week; Aaron Stinnie out for season

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said Sunday that quarterback Tom Brady will be returning to the team this week.

Bowles did not disclose a specific return day for Brady, who left the Buccaneers on Aug. 11 due to personal reasons. Bowles said he wasn’t sure if Brady would play in Tampa Bay’s preseason finale against the host Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.

Once he returns, Brady will find himself behind an offensive line that absorbed another significant hit on Saturday.

Guard Aaron Stinnie will miss the 2022 season after he sustained a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, Bowles said Sunday.

Stinnie was injured after being rolled up on by Tennessee safety Adrian Colbert in the second half of Tampa Bay’s 13-3 preseason loss to the Titans. Stinnie was carted off the field.

“We can’t afford to get any more hurt there,” Bowles said of an offensive line that already has lost Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen to a knee injury. Jensen is out indefinitely, while tackle Tristan Wirfs is considered day-to-day with an oblique strain.

Stinnie, 28, was a candidate for the starting left guard position after Ali Marpet abruptly retired in the offseason.

Second-round draft pick Luke Goedeke is among the contenders for the starting role.

Stinnie appeared in six games (one start) last season. He started three postseason games for the Bucs in 2020, including Super Bowl LV.

–Field Level Media

Feb 11, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Rob Gronkowski during the NFL Alumni Legends Party at Avalon Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski: ‘I’m done with football’

Retired Rob Gronkowski reiterated Tuesday that he plans to stay retired.

Even if the “greatest quarterback of all time” Tom Brady calls the four-time All-Pro tight end to ask for one more season in Tampa Bay.

“I’m done with football,” Gronkowski said during a family business junket with his brother Chris in Boston.

“Love the game. Definitely blessed with all the opportunities the game of football has given me, and relationships — obviously here in New England Patriots for nine seasons and down in Tampa for two. But done with football and stepping my feet into the business world, business ventures, and just seeing what’s out there and where I can find my place.”

Gronkowski, 33, announced last month on social media that he was “going back to my retirement home” with his “head held high.”

However, his agent Drew Rosenhaus threw water on it, saying he wouldn’t be surprised if Gronkowski came back a third time if Brady called.

Gronkowski said he would take Brady’s call, but that his answer would be the same.

“I would answer, obviously, the greatest quarterback of all time. Ask him how he’s doing. Tell him I’m doing good,” Gronkowski said. “But I wouldn’t go back to football — no.”

At age 29, Gronkowski retired after nine seasons and three Super Bowl championships with the New England Patriots. He was lured back into the game by the appeal of playing again with Brady when the legendary Patriots quarterback joined the Buccaneers before the 2020 season.

The two won a fourth Super Bowl together after the 2020 season but fell short of the goal in 2021, losing to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC divisional playoffs.

Gronkowski caught 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns in 2021 despite missing five games to injury. In two seasons at Tampa, he caught 100 passes for 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns in 28 games.

In 143 career games, Gronkowski has 621 receptions for 9,286 yards with 92 touchdowns. He has been selected as a first-team All-Pro four times and ranks third all-time in TDs among tight ends.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with  running back Leonard Fournette (7) after running the ball in for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa teammates thought Tom Brady would return

When Tom Brady retired with a lengthy social media post, running back Leonard Fournette saw the next route coming: the reverse.

Brady, who spent just more than one month retired after the February announcement, was back in uniform with Fournette and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. Fournette said it’s almost like Brady, 44, never left.

“He hasn’t lost a step. He is who he is,” Fournette said. “And me just being alongside him these three years, I wouldn’t want any other guy back there with us. He deserves everything he’s got and that’s coming to him. And I’m just proud of him.”

Brady said last week he felt pressure to make a decision on returning with free agency and the draft approaching.

Fournette figured Brady would be back after a 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on a last-second field goal ended the Bucs’ season in the NFC divisional round in January.

“I kind of knew because I told him, I want to say two days after the game, I’m like, ‘T, we can’t go out like that.’ And he agreed with me,” Fournette said Tuesday. “Like, we left too many mistakes on the field that kind of messed us up and we were playing catch-up the whole game. So I think as a champion, I knew he wouldn’t want to go out like that for his legacy.”

Brady’s return was a magnet for fellow Buccaneers’ free agents, including Fournette, who re-signed on a three-year deal.

A reunion with Brady played in a role in the team’s most recent signing, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. Hicks played with the New Orleans Saints for his first three-plus seasons before a trade sent him to New England. After playing with the Patriots, Hicks spent six seasons with the Chicago Bears and contemplated retirement at age 32.

“Something I’ve thought of often is that when I came into the league I had Drew Brees and Tom Brady as my first two quarterbacks,” Hicks said Tuesday. “And then I went to Chicago … it wasn’t Drew Brees and Tom Brady, let me say that, right? I feel spoiled to have somebody on the other side of the ball that can deliver all the time, and he’s proven it over the years.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen (88) warms up prior to a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen to lead Fox 2022 NFL team

Play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Greg Olsen will lead Fox Sports’ top broadcast team for the 2022 NFL season.

Veteran reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi, plus rules expert Mike Pereira, will complete the team for Fox, which will televise Super Bowl LVII from Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12.

The move had been expected but wasn’t announced until Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to have this team steward our industry-leading and award-winning coverage as we embark on our 29th NFL season, highlighted by our 10th Super Bowl,” Fox Sports executive Brad Zager said Tuesday.

The Fox team will make its regular-season debut on Sept. 11 from Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Vikings will face the Green Bay Packers.

Burkhardt and Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowl selection during his 14-year NFL career, will replace the top Fox broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. They have reunited at ESPN to make up the lead team for “Monday Night Football.”

Burkhardt and Olsen were Fox’s No. 2 broadcast team last season.

Buck and Aikman are coming off 20 seasons calling NFL games for Fox. They will make their “MNF” debut on Sept. 12 when the Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks.

Terms of the Buck-Aikman deal with ESPN were not released. However, the New York Post reported Buck was in line to receive a five-year deal worth between $60 million and $75 million. The Post reported that Aikman received a five-year, $92.5 million contract to jump to ESPN.

Olsen is keeping the seat warm for Tom Brady, who will become Fox Sports’ lead NFL analyst when his playing career ends. Fox did not release terms of his contract, but he has agreed to a 10-year, $375 million deal — the most lucrative in sports broadcasting history — according to the New York Post.

Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, will return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd NFL season this year.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) greets Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) after Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers host Chiefs in Week 4 for Brady-Mahomes VI

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are scheduled to square off for the sixth time when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs in October.

The Week 4 game was released by the NFL on Thursday morning before the complete schedule announcement later in the day.

The same teams — and quarterbacks — last met in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in February 2021 when Brady and the Buccaneers prevailed 31-9.

Brady is 3-2 in the all-time series with Mahomes.

The next matchup is scheduled for Oct. 2 and will air in prime time on NBC as the “Sunday Night Football” Week 4 nightcap.

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks at the defense during the first half against the Los Angeles Rams during a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady’s next team? FOX claims QB

Tom Brady agreed to join FOX Sports as lead NFL analyst when he retires for good from the NFL.

Brady, whose retirement announcement in February was rescinded 18 days later, is back for another season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022. When he decides to move on from the playing field, he has a job waiting.

CEO Lachlan Murdoch broke the news to investors Tuesday morning on the FOX Corporation earnings call.

Brady posted via Twitter, “Excited, but a lot of unfinished business on the field with the @Buccaneers.”

Brady agreed to a “long-term” pact and would call games with Kevin Burkhardt.

“Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt, but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives,” FOX said in a follow-up statement.

The pairing would be in line to replace Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, the No. 1 FOX booth for years before leaving recently to team up in the “Monday Night Football” booth for ESPN.

Brady turns 45 on Aug. 3 and the seven-time Super Bowl champion has said he won’t put a cap on how long he could potentially play in the NFL.

NFL analysts are being paid handsomely these days. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo signed a deal with CBS in 2020 that pays him nearly $17 million per year.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and head coach Bruce Arians during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians, Bucs believe Tom Brady is done

When it comes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ plan at quarterback in 2022, head coach Bruce Arians continues to refer to finding out what’s behind “Door No. 2.”

Arians clarified yet again he doesn’t expect Tom Brady to be the player revealed behind the door, a reference to looking at options outside the known players on the depth chart: Blaine Gabbert and 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask.

“That would shock me,” Arians told the Tampa Bay Times of a potential Brady return. “And he let us know in time to do the free agency like we’ve done in the past. That’s why I don’t see it happening. I don’t know if there’s really a story there.”

NFL Network reported last week that Arians and general manager Jason Licht hadn’t ruled out Brady’s return. The 44-year-old announced in early February that he was retiring after 22 NFL seasons.

But other reports indicate Arians is looking for his “next Brady” and has spent time studying Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks), among other potential trade targets for Tampa Bay.

When Arians and Licht met with Brady as a free agent before the 2020 season, Arians had only recently made a reference to looking behind “Door No. 2” when questioned about whether then-free agent Jameis Winston would be re-signed.

The 2022 offseason of QB musical chairs includes many significant names beyond Wilson and Watson, who’ve shown interest in being traded.

There also have been reports that Brady could have interest in playing for the San Francisco 49ers to return to his California roots.

Several teams are in need of a quarterback when the new league year begins in March.

Arians also rather colorfully said former NFL player Rich Ohrnberger’s report that Brady and Arians didn’t see “eye to eye” on game planning was unfounded.

“I mean, that’s such bulls—”’ Arians told the Tampa Bay Times. “That’s what pisses me off. It seems like there’s one (story) every day now. Everybody is speculating he’s going somewhere else. That don’t bother me. This other bulls—, the relationship thing, that’s so far-fetched.”

–Field Level Media