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TAMPA, FLORIDA - JULY 27: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gestures to fans during Buccaneers Training Camp at AdventHealth Training Center on July 27, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Tom Brady was not at practice on Thursday. This was not a big deal, because players miss practice for all sorts of reasons, though given that Brady is 45 years old, retired then unretired in the offseason, and is one of the greatest and most famous football players of all time, it was natural to be curious. But the Buccaneers said he was excused and they were fine with it. And then they said he's going to be off for at least the next week and a half. That makes it, as they say, curiouser and curiouser.

Brady will not be at camp until sometime after Tampa's Aug. 20 preseason game, and will not play in the Bucs' first two preseason games. “He’s going to deal with some personal things,” said head coach Todd Bowles, who added, "It's something he needs to handle."

So far, so normal. But then Bowles mentioned that the absence had been planned since before the start of camp. If it had been planned, why didn't the team mention it before now, if only so it wouldn't become an obvious thing when it arrived? Whatever it is, it's apparently not so time-sensitive that it couldn't be scheduled for the middle of camp rather than the beginning, because Brady wanted to be there at the start to build up an early rapport with new players. “We allotted this time because he wanted to get chemistry with the guys,” Bowles said.

It would probably be unwise to speculate here, but you damn well better believe I'm speculating the hell out of this privately, and also with coworkers, and basically everywhere I can't get sued for it. Don't let that stop you, though, commenters.

While this will all probably soon be forgotten and moved on from as soon as Brady comes back, if I were a Buccaneers fan, I would not feel especially great about Bowles's answer to whether Brady will be ready for the regular season.

Asked about his level of confidence that Brady will start in Week 1 at Dallas, Bowles said: “Mine’s pretty high.”

Asked later to clarify any doubt, Bowles said: “There’s no doubt. Obviously there’s always going to be doubt, but I have a pretty high level of confidence.”

If you are Tom Brady and would like to clear this up, send me an email.

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