Bradford: Sorry, it's hard to be happy for Tom Brady


I can't help the way I feel.

When Tom Brady is on the television, I root against him. I root against Rob Gronkowski. And now, I will also be rooting against Antonio Brown.

This wasn't a preconceived mentality. Like everybody in this region, I appreciated the excellence of Brady and his buddies. They were good for business. They were also a source of no-doubt-about-it weekly entertainment. Juxtapose it against the anticipation of a Cam Newton-to-Ryan Izzo connection and it does make you yearn for the good old days.

I had no idea how I would approach these Tampa Bay Buccaneers box scores. But I do now.

Make it clear, this isn't the "once they leave town we have to rip them" time-honored tradition we have come to embrace in these parts. It's more about the slow roll that led us to Brady reeling in his latest former teammate.

There were little things that elicited eye-rolling, such as a disingenuous approach to COVID-19 protocols, or the constant "I've gone from Canobie Lake Park to Disney World" vibe Brady and Gronk continuously gave off.

And now there is the return of Brown, a guy Brady's head coach Bruce Arians said there was no chance of becoming a Buccaneers yet has now inked a one-year deal with the organization.

We all knew Brady was going to be the alpha in this organization, but it is striking how it's unfolding. You go from a coach who proclaims, "I just know him and it’s not a fit in our locker room," to this. And before that you went from a coach who had no problem being the guy everybody said he is -- calling out his quarterback for bad plays -- to the only person on Earth who surmised Brady hadn't forgotten how many downs there were against the Bears.

But here we are. Brady got his guy. Arians? He will cite the injury concerns of Chris Godwin and MIke Evans. But what can he say about that one quote about "not a fit in our locker room"? That has nothing to do with wide receiver depth or salary cap implications.

Clearly, Brady has continuously put the hard-sell on Arians, perhaps citing Brown's mild-melding sessions with Tony Robbins. But it's still hard to get past that initial reaction from Arians, who one could say knew the wide receiver a whole lot better than his quarterback.

Maybe it comes down to this: I just want to see Brady be Brady in the fashion we came accustomed to through all these years. Or perhaps it's flat-out jealousy, having to live this life of wondering if Devin Asiasi is ever going to get a target.

That's on me. It is what it is. But, sorry, this version of Tom just feels different.

I understand I'm probably in the minority, and will continue to be as Brady continues to turn in games like he did against the Packers while the Patriots desperately search for a 20-yard pass completion.

Brady got his guy. But he has lost me ... at least until this bizarre Buccaneer era is over.