Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady revealed on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after the team’s Super Bowl boat parade.
Brady said he tested positive in February, shortly after his team beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, to win Super Bowl LV.
Though he’s now recovered and fully vaccinated against the virus — the entire Bucs team is, making them just the second team in the league to do so — Brady believes the coronavirus pandemic will be much tougher for teams to deal with this fall.
“I think it’s going to be challenging this year,” he 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.”
The United States — and the southeast specifically — is facing yet another surge of the coronavirus ahead of the start of the regular season next week.
The country is averaging more than 160,000 new cases each day, per The New York Times, and Florida is averaging more than 15,000 cases each day. The state peaked late last month with nearly 30,000 new cases each day, it’s all-time record since the pandemic began. About 54% of the state is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, too, slightly better than the national average.
Even though the Bucs are fully vaccinated, and can follow looser protocols because of that, coach Bruce Arians said last month that he isn’t taking any chances.
The Bucs coach said that he is going to enforce much stricter rules on road trips this season to try and ensure that his players won’t miss any games due to the coronavirus. Players won’t be able to leave the team hotel or have anyone visit them, regardless of their vaccination status.
“There’s league rules, and then there’s my rules,” Arians said. “We ain’t going anywhere. We’re [following] the same [rules] as last year.
“I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They ain’t going anywhere.”