The Buccaneers thought they got rid of all the drama at the quarterback position when Tom Brady didn’t retire and returned to Tampa Bay during the 2022 NFL offseason.
However, with less than a month until the start of the regular season, uncertainty about the position suddenly lingers again.
Brady has been away from the Buccaneers since Aug. 11 and is dealing with a “personal issue.” At this point, he was expected to be back on the team shortly after the preseason Week 2 matchup against the Titans.
Now that schedule is a little less clear, and that’s causing many to wonder exactly when Brady will return to the Buccaneers.
Here’s what we know about Brady’s absence so far and when he might return to the field.
MORE: Tom Brady’s Week 1 status is in question after absence from camp
When does Tom Brady return to the Buccaneers?
It is currently unclear when Brady will return to the Buccaneers. Coach Todd Bowles said at practice in Tampa Bay Thursday that there was “no definitive date” by which Brady should return.
“We’ll see,” Bowles said, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “We’ll talk about that next week. I’m not worried at the moment. We’re trying to practice against Tennessee and play a game. I said ‘sometime after Tennessee’. There is no definite date for me. But we’ll check, we’ll keep in touch and we’ll find out.”
Brady has been out of the Buccaneers since August 11. Originally, Bowles hinted that Brady would return after Tampa Bay met the Titans; that would have made Monday 22 August the earliest date for a potential Brady return.
Brady’s absence was preplanned, as Bowles and the Buccaneers’ Brain Trust noted when they first announced the quarterback would not be on the team.
“We talked about that before training camp started,” Bowles said last week, per CBS. “We allotted that time because he wanted to come in and get chemistry with the boys and go through two weeks of training camp because he knew he wasn’t going to play the first two [preseason] games.”
Still, the Bucs will miss Brady while he’s absent. After all, Brady was the 2021 MVP runner-up and threw for a league-high 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns last season. He was expected to be a stabilizing force on Tampa Bay’s offense even as he entered his season at age 45, but that’s a question now.
Where’s Tom Brady?
It’s unclear exactly where Tom Brady is and what he’s doing while away from Buccaneers camp. It was only stated that his absence was related to a “personal issue”.
Brady’s vague absence has captured the imagination of NFL fans. Fans have come up with numerous theories about Brady’s absence; They ranged from questions about the health of Brady’s family and his marriage to Gisele Bundchen to speculation that Brady could be a contestant on the Fox show The Masked Singer.
Where on earth is Tom Brady? We have a theory 🔍 pic.twitter.com/zUvopoaCwM
— Fantasy Life (@MBFantasyLife) August 19, 2022
All options proposed by fans are only hypothetical. The truth is, few know what’s going on with Brady. The Buccaneers are among those doing that, and as linebacker Devin White explained, Brady is doing fine himself.
“On the inside, we know what’s going on,” White said on Aug. 11. “We know our quarterback is doing fine. We just pray for him and let him do his business.”
MORE: Tom Brady explains why he retired during the NFL offseason
Buccaneers QB depth chart
Brady, of course, is the top quarterback on Tampa Bay’s depth chart. Things get a little more interesting behind him.
Blaine Gabbert seems to have firmly established himself as his top backup since the 12-year NFL veteran has been with the Buccaneers since 2019. He is very familiar with Byron Leftwich’s offense and started the Bucs preseason opener without Brady.
Behind Gabbert, second-year pro Kyle Trask and veteran Ryan Griffin, the longest-serving quarterback on the Bucs roster, are fighting for the backup job. Trask seems to have the edge, but Griffin’s seven years of experience at Tampa Bay could help him retain a job on the team.
Below is how the Buccaneers’ four-man QB depth chart is shaping up, according to their official website: