UFC president Dana White said on Saturday that Tom Brady might have become the quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders when he was a free agent in 2020, but Jon Gruden, then the team’s coach, put the kibosh on it at the last minute. .
That’s the story of White, who has no ties to the NFL, but has a friendship with Brady. Rob Gronkowski, Brady’s longtime and now-retired teammate, took the story from White Saturday night during the Gronkowski-led alternate broadcast of UFC 278, seen on ESPN and ESPN Plus.
“I’ve been working on getting that deal for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders,” said White, who is not an NFL player’s agent. “It was almost a foregone conclusion. And at the last minute Gruden blew up the deal and said he didn’t want him and all hell broke loose, man. It was crazy.
“And Brady was already looking at houses. It had not yet been said that Gronk would be coming. So Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except Gruden blew up the deal.
It’s a juicy tidbit, but there’s no comment from Gruden, who resigned from the Raiders last fall amid controversy over racist, homophobic and misogynistic language he used in emails over a period of about seven years before agreeing. with his second stint as the head coach of the team. Brady has not responded either. After missing much of the training camp, he is expected to return “early” this week, according to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Todd Bowles.
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There were reports that the Raiders were interested in Brady before he reached free agency, and White has previously said he wanted to see the quarterback land with the Raiders. Of course, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was recently suspended and fined, and the team was stripped of two draft picks for tampering with Brady and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
As Brady’s time in New England drew to a close, he was clearly interested in a number of teams and his hometown of San Francisco 49ers were also frequently mentioned. An NFL investigation found that the Dolphins had unauthorized communications with Brady in 2019 and 2020 while he was under contract with the Patriots. The Dolphins also had unauthorized communications with Brady and his agent, who did not name the league, during and after the 2021 season while he was under contract with the Buccaneers.
Brady himself discussed his free desk and the lack of interest from an undisclosed team in an appearance in June 2021 on LeBron James’ YouTube show, “The Shop,” which was broadcast by HBO at the time.
“One of the teams was not interested in the end,” Brady said. ‘I thought, ‘You’re staying with that motherf—–?’ ”
As for this latest intrigue, Gronkowski was the one who brought up the story Saturday night and White said he didn’t intend to discuss it until Gronkowski asked. Unlike Brady, Gronkowski was nowhere near free agency at the time. He was under contract to the Patriots despite retiring after the 2018 season and the team’s sixth Super Bowl title. New England later traded him to Tampa Bay, where he and Brady teamed up for another championship.
Gronkowski, the center of speculation as to whether he would retire at some point this season, added that he was “glad” that the Raiders deal “didn’t go through”.
“It all worked out, man. I’m glad we went to Tampa, man. It just worked. I like that place.”