Mike Vrabel stepped up to the podium at the NFL combine and gave a response to the Tom Brady question most would expect.
The Titans coach deflected, joked and talked around the possibility of his team signing Brady — a former Patriots teammates of his — in free agency. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians had a different approach. According to the Boston Globe, Arians was asked if there was a quarterback out there that would make him “pick up the phone.”
“Tom Brady,” Arians responded.
The Buccaneers and Titans, along with the Raiders and Chargers, have been most closely linked to the 42-year-old Brady as he appears headed for his first foray into free agency on March 18. That is unless the Patriots sign him beforehand. At this point they are the only team who is allowed to talk contract details with Brady, something that is expected to start in earnest this week in Indianapolis between team officials and the quarterback’s agent, Don Yee.
Tampa Bay risked tampering charges by Arians publicly displaying his team’s interest at this time. However, according to the Globe, it would be unusual for the Patriots to take the issue up with the league.
“We’re not saying we don’t want Jameis [Winston],” Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said. “We’re just saying we want to check what’s behind door number 2, 3, 4.”
And, while not a glowing endorsement for Winston, it is way more complimentary than what Arians has had to say about the former Florida State Heisman Trophy winner. Regardless of the public approach teams are taking at the combine, one source told the paper all teams are thinking the same thing in private.
“They all want Tom,” the source said.