TAMPA, Fla. — It's almost Tom Brady time in Tampa.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have been preparing for their first preseason game Thursday. Instead, the team and its star quarterback are just trying to adjust to a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.
That meant advancing to the second phase of training camp, with position groups spending most of their time together before breaking out into select all-offense or all-defense drills.
Of course, this year's training camp would have been like none other regardless with Brady and a familiar target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, reuniting in Florida. Their presence brings an enthusiasm to Tampa not felt since the Buccaneers won their first and only Super Bowl after the 2002 season.
Brady signed with the Buccaneers in March after winning six Super Bowls with head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
His presence coaxed Gronkowski out of retirement.
It's a clear message to the NFL: Brady and Gronkowski would like to end their season in the place where they once again share a locker. Super Bowl LV will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The NFL canceled all preseason games, leaving August void of football for the first time in Brady's 20-year career. So it'll be practice, practice and more practice before the Buccaneers finally put on the pads, first against each other and a month from now in the season opener against the New Orleans Saints.