November 29, 2021

Bruce Arians on Tom Brady’s COVID-19 Diagnosis: A Ton of People Got It at the Parade – Bleacher Report

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians reacted to news of Tom Brady’s offseason COVID-19 diagnosis by acknowledging the quarterback wasn’t the only one contract the virus after their February Super Bowl win.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine asked the 68-year-old about Brady’s positive test, and the coach said the team’s championship celebration was central to its spread:

JennaLaineESPN @JennaLaineESPN

I asked Bruce Arians his reaction upon learning that Tom Brady tested positive for COVID-19 in February. “A bunch of people had it,” he said. “A ton of people got it at the parade and he was just one of them, so to me it’s nothing.”

Brady told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times he thinks NFL players will have to navigate the pandemic in new ways: 

“I think it’s going to be challenging this year. 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.”

The Bucs seem well-positioned to navigate COVID-19 this season as one of the few NFL teams that is 100 percent vaccinated. Arians was a key player in that fight, urging and educating players into getting their shots. 

To their credit, the players bought in—even those who were hesitant early on, such as tailback Leonard Fournette. 

“It’s something I wanted to do, trying to put the team [out of] harm’s [way],” Fournette said. “People are still catching it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot. We need every hand in here for these next couple big games we’ve got coming up.”

It’s unclear how many Bucs players tested positive during the offseason. Also unknown is how many of those cases can be traced back to the team’s Super Bowl boat parade.

Tampa Bay was notably prudent regarding the virus last season. Part of the reason the Bucs were able to go on their Super Bowl run is because of their overall health. Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said that began at the top with Brady.

“He did an unbelievable job keeping this thing together during COVID,” Christensen said, per Stroud. “He didn’t compromise, and it ended up being one of the huge advantages because we didn’t have any dips because of COVID, largely because of him. He had zero tolerance for cutting corners on the COVID protocol.”

The Bucs open the season Thursday night at home against the Dallas Cowboys.