Ron Rivera admits he was ‘surprised’ Tom Brady left Patriots
Tom Brady’s own father said years ago that he did not believe things would end well for his son in New England, but plenty of people were still shocked when Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Washington head coach Ron Rivera was among those who did not see it coming.
Rivera, who is preparing his team to take on the Bucs in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, told reporters this week that he didn’t believe the talk of Brady leaving New England until it actually happened.
“I really was surprised that he did leave,” Rivera said, via Ethan Cadeaux of NBC 4 in Washington. “I was one of those that really did think he wouldn’t leave.”
Rivera certainly was not alone. Many assumed Patriots owner Robert Kraft would step in if Bill Belichick ever wanted to move on from Brady, but the relationship had obviously run its course. Brady looked like he may have been nearing the end of his career with the way he struggled in New England last year, but he then threw 40 touchdown passes this season with a better supporting cast.
As far as Rivera is concerned, Brady does not look his age.
“I didn’t realize he was 43 because I’ll tell you, he throws the ball like he’s 23,” Rivera said. “He really does. He’s got the arm strength. He delivers a good ball. He’s still who he is. That’s the scary part. He may be that age, but he sure doesn’t play like it.”
There’s virtually no chance Washington will underestimate Brady, which makes sense considering Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion. The media has made a big deal out of the way Chase Young called out Brady, but the rookie explained his motivation for that on Wednesday.
With the Patriots struggling in 2020 and missing the playoffs, it certainly looks like Brady made the right choice leaving.