TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady joined Howard Stern on Sirius XM Radio on Wednesday for a two-plus-hour conversation. He revealed a number of things, from what his relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick was like, to when he knew he was going to leave New England, to how he navigated marital issues with wife Gisele Bundchen, to his relationship with President Donald Trump and the influence of Kobe Bryant.
Here are the highlights:
1. Before the beginning of last season, Brady believed he was going to leave New England
“I don’t think there was a final, final decision until it happened, but I would say I probably knew before the start of last season that it was my last year, and I knew that it was just -- our time was coming to an end,” said Brady, who, prior to the start of the season, signed a two-year, $70 million extension bumping his salary in 2019 to $23 million. Under the terms of the extension, the Patriots would have owed him $30 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021. But the contract was voidable after one season.
“I knew that at the end of the year I was gonna become a free agent for the first time in my career,” Brady said. “And I had spoken about it with the ownership of the team, Mr. Kraft, and he was good with it; I spoke with coach Belichick, he was good with it; that’s what we decided to do,” Brady said.
2. Brady doesn’t care about legacy
He decided to move to Tampa instead of retiring because he wants to prove to himself he can still play at the highest level.
“I never cared about legacy,” Brady said. “... I never once, when I was in high school, said, ‘Man, I can’t wait for what my football legacy looks like.’ It’s just not me; that’s not my personality. So why would I choose a different place? It’s because it was just time. I don’t know what to say other than that. I had done everything -- I accomplished everything I could in two decades with an incredible organization, incredible group of people -- and that will never change."
3. Kobe Bryant had a significant influence on his life
Brady said he and Bryant had a great connection because they shared the same mentality, not just with sports but in their approach to life.
“Kobe thought he had a long life too,” Brady said. “When I look at his life -- we all think we’re gonna live forever. But the reality is, we don’t know when our day is gonna come. So I could sit here and stop playing football and I could worry about what’s gonna happen or worry about this or that, instead of saying, ‘Why don’t I live my life the way that I want and enjoy it? In the ways that are gonna be the most fulfilling to me. Which, for me, it’s doing what I love to do. You don’t tell a musician to stop singing at age 42. You don’t tell a great painter to stop painting at 42.”
4. Tom and Gisele sought marriage counseling
Two years ago, Brady said, he had to make a transition toward tending more to his family because Bundchen said he wasn’t pulling his weight at home. She wrote him a letter detailing the problems in their marriage, and he missed OTAs that year because of it. He still keeps the letter in a drawer.
“She didn’t feel like I was doing my part for our family,” Brady said. "She felt like I would play football all season and she would take care of the house and all of a sudden when the season would end, I would be like, 'Great, let me get into all my other business activities. Let me get into my football training.' And she's sitting there going, 'Well, when are you going to do things for the house? When are you going to take the kids to school and do that?' And that was a big part of our marriage. I had to, like, check myself. Because she's like, 'I have goals and dreams too.'"
Her point was, “Well, yeah, of course this works for you. It all works for you. But it doesn’t work for me. Because you can get caught up in your life where you think a relationship’s great, because it only works for you. And the point of a relationship -- it has to work for both. You’d better work on both, 'cause if you don’t, then ultimately it’s not sustainable.”
5. Brady said he doesn’t see race with his teammates
Stern asked Brady whether there was a “racial self-consciousness” or “guilt” in the locker room for being a white quarterback with predominantly African-American teammates, or whether he ever encountered a division in the locker room over race.
“Never,” Brady said. “Never once have I felt like that’s the point. I never saw race. I think sports transcends race. It transcends wealth. It transcends all that. You get to know and appreciate what someone else may bring. When you're in a locker room with 50 guys, you don't think about race because you're all the same at that point.”
6. Brady has a relationship with President Donald Trump but it isn’t political
The two met in 2001. Trump asked Brady to judge a Miss USA competition in 2002. Trump would also call to congratulate him after games and would frequent the sidelines of Patriots games before the two started playing golf together around 2003 or 2004. Trump asked Brady to speak at the 2016 Republican National Convention but he declined.
“I got brought into a lot of those things because it was so polarizing around the election time,” Brady said. “It was uncomfortable for me. You can’t undo things. And not that I would undo a friendship, but the political support is totally different than the support of a friend.
“I didn’t want to get into all the political -- there’s zero win in anything in regards to that -- it’s politics. ... I got brought together in a locker room where I was always trying to get along with everybody. I feel like in an outward sense, when you start talking about politics, it’s about how do you not bring people together? Which is the opposite of what politics should have always been in our country.”
7. Yes, Derek Jeter is his landlord
He plans on renting Jeter’s home for a while (Jeter is co-owner of the Miami Marlins) and has no plans to buy a home in the area. He enjoys the outdoor space, which allows him to work out on the property. They’ve been friends for a long time.
What happens when the washing machine breaks?
“I call and I b---- to him and he gets it fixed,” Brady said. “Everyone thinks they want to own a home, and it’s nice to rent. You get all the benefits with no responsibility, so I’m totally cool with this.”
8. He doesn’t lift heavy weights anymore
Instead, Brady focuses on functional strength. He also follows strict nutrition, but does allow himself to indulge once in a while.
“I don’t too many weights anymore. I’m about 230 pounds, so that’s kind of where I’ve always been for a while,” Brady said. “I’m not a big weight lifter. That’s not really how I train. I use a lot of resistance bands. I do a lot of pool workouts. I’m not trying to injure myself in the weight room anymore like I did when I was younger.”
9. Brady would let his kids play football
Brady said that yes, he has had concussions. But he also believes contact sports like football and boxing teach valuable lessons.
“Absolutely,” Brady said. “I think there’s something about contact sports that teaches you about discipline, respect, mutual respect for your opponent that you don’t get in non-contact sports. Because think about it -- if your body is taking a physical toll, a punishment, you’ve gotta respect your body because that’s your insulation, that’s your asset.”
10. Brady believes it shouldn’t take the coronavirus for people to focus on their health
Brady believes prevention is the best medicine, and that nothing can substitute for taking care of yourself through proper diet, exercise, rest and having a sense of balance in life. He also said he drinks a “couple hundred ounces” of water a day and believes chronic dehydration is a real problem.
“Why don’t we talk to the food companies about adding less sugar to our foods?” Brady said. “Why are we so immuno-suppressed all the time? Why are we so dependent on waiting to get sick before we start thinking about how we get better? I heard one of the doctors say on TV, ‘We should all act like we’re sick.’ And I thought that was a very compelling thing. In my mind, I live like I’m sick. I always try to get the right rest. I always try to eat the right foods. I always try to have a more positive outlook.”