Former NFL tight end Kyle Rudolph shared a heartwarming tale about Tom Brady and how the legendary quarterback went out of his way to look after his teammates in Tampa Bay.
Rudolph joined the Buccaneers last year with the hope of winning a Super Bowl. The Bucs never lived up to the sky-high expectations, however, finishing with a disappointing 8-9 record that was barely enough to win the NFC South.
In what turned out to be the final game of Brady’s career, the Bucs were crushed 31-14 by the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card Round. Both Brady and Rudolph retired after the 2022 season.
Speaking to NBC Sports’ Peter King for the weekly “Football Morning in America” column, Rudolph shared a moving story about just how much Brady cared for his teammates:
“I went to the Bucs to try to win a championship with the best QB ever, who wanted me in Tampa. I came in with expectations, and then never even played…I was a healthy scratch most of the year, and, honestly, it was really disappointing.
“But my experience with Tom was incredible. First, the way he treated people. The way he treated the Glazer family [Bucs owners] is exactly the way he treated the janitor at 6:30 at night when he and maybe one or two other guys were the last players in the building. Second, the way he treated his teammates. Tom had an empty locker next to him.
I would look over there and every day, guys would put helmets, jerseys, pictures, footballs, all the stuff they wanted Tom to sign for them. There’d be notes on the stuff, a post-it note on a football—‘Sign this for Jimmy, it’s his birthday.’ At the end of the day, almost every day, he’d sit there and sign everything…
But all season, he’d put his arm around me and keep me positive. He made me a better football player, not because of the games, but because of the practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
So we’re in Atlanta, last regular-season game of Tom’s career. And on the first drive of the game, I’m on the field, and he throws me the last TD pass of his career, his regular-season career. It was a big catch for me—my 50th touchdown in the NFL. That ball’s painted and in my office here in Tampa right now. It means so much to me.”
Brady announced his retirement from Football on Feb. 1, 2022, only to announce 40 days later that he was coming back for a 23rd season. The Bucs fell well short of expectations, but Brady’s ability to lead a banged-up Tampa team to a division title only added more to his special legacy.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion and three-time league MVP announced his final retirement on Feb. 1 of this year. Next year, Brady will move into the broadcast booth as an NFL analyst for FOX Sports and work alongside play-by-play voice Kevin Burkhardt and sideline reporter Erin Andrews.
WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.