- Tom Brady told the Tampa Bay Times that he tested positive for COVID-19 back in February.
- Brady’s case came shortly after the Buccaneers’ boat parade celebrating their Super Bowl win.
- Brady and the rest of the Buccaneers are now 100% vaccinated, but the quarterback believes the virus will be an even bigger factor in the 2021 season.
In February, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers celebrated their win in Super Bowl LV with a boat parade through the waters of Tampa Bay.
Shortly after the day of revelry, Brady tested positive for COVID-19, the Buccaneers quarterback confirmed in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday.
Brady is now vaccinated against COVID-19, along with 100% of his Buccaneers teammates, head coach Bruce Arians told reporters last week. But even with his entire locker room vaccinated, Brady believes that COVID-19 is set to be an even bigger factor this year than it was during the 2020 season.
“I think it’s going to be challenging this year,” Brady told the Tampa Bay Times. “I actually think it’s going to play more of a factor this year than last year, just because of the way what we’re doing now and what the stadium is going to look like and what the travel is going to look like and the people in the building and the fans.
“It’s not like last year, although we’re getting tested like last year. It’s going to be, I definitely think guys are going to be out at different points and we’ve just got to deal with it.”
Brady’s statement might feel counterintuitive at first — with the vaccine available to all players that want it.
But due to the protocols implemented by the NFL heading into 2021, there’s still plenty of room for COVID to cause disaster for teams heading into a game week.
The COVID-19 protocols the NFL adopted this year are vastly different for vaccinated and unvaccinated players: The former do not have to isolate if they come into contact with somebody who tests positive for COVID-19, while anyone unvaccinated must quarantine for five days.
Even for vaccinated players, COVID-19 can cause disruption — a fact that the Buccaneers already know well. As of last Thursday, the team had four players test positive for COVID-19 in recent days: defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, kicker Ryan Succop, and offensive linemen Nick Leverett and Earl Watford. According to a report from ESPN, all four are fully vaccinated.