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TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Rachaad White wanted to soak up every moment of his first NFL training session – he caught himself staring at the giant red flag on Bucs’ tin-colored helmets (he even tried to take his back to the team hotel, but the equipment staff stopped him) and by the jerseys and thought thoughts of living out his dreams.
But it was only when he went back into the locker room after training and saw a group of other rookies gathered around quarterback Tom Brady’s closet that another realization hit him: He will take passes, catch passes and pick up the blitz for arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, whose NFL career has spanned almost his and every other Buccaneer rookie his entire life.
“They said, ‘Yeah, man, Tom, his closet is so clean and neat.’ So it just shows you how Tom Brady is, ”White recalled.
“I went over there and thought, ‘Yeah, it’s crazy.’ Of course I’m not touching anyone’s closet, because that’s just the way it goes. already a little dirty. “
Defensive tackle Logan Hall, Bucs’ first pick (second round) of the draft and the 33rd overall pick from the University of Houston, who happened to be growing up on a street called Buccaneer Lane in Belton, Texas, saw Brady’s locker when he took a top-30 visits before the draft, which was a surreal experience.
“I was [freaking out] I’m tough. It was unreal, “said Hall, who was born on April 22, 2000 – exactly six days after Brady was selected 199th collected in the 2000 draft, making him the first Brady teammate to be born after being drafted. The two have not yet met as Brady was not present for Bucs’ first OTA day this week.
“I’m being shocked. I want to try not to stutter and stuff like that,” Hall said, laughing, “but it’s going to be really cool to see him.”
When he learned to start tackling properly, Tristan Wirfs recently got Brady’s phone number and was dizzy about it, Hall said, “That’s understandable.”
Throughout the pre-draft process, guard Luke Goedeke, Bucs’ 57th overall draft pick from Central Michigan, repeatedly told friends and family that he did not have a “dream team.” But he admitted he was hoping he would be selected by Tampa Bay because of Brady.
“I obviously grew up in Wisconsin, so I had to mess around a bit after the Packers, but to be honest with you, I liked the Patriots more because of Tom Brady,” Goedeke said. “This is like a dream come true for me.”
“I know the moment I see him, it’s going to be like, ‘Puha! A bit like a kind of shellshock, said cornerback Zyon McCollum, a fifth-round draft pick from Sam Houston State. “I’m just trying to stay in the moment, and when that moment comes, I will be there.”
Brady has been known for choosing young defenders in practice, like a shark sniffing blood in the water, but McCollum said he would accept the challenge.
“If I get tested, I’ll hopefully end up getting one,” McCollum said. “I will definitely absorb everything, learn from everything – from his walk, talk, everything.
“Just because he’s on the offensive side of the ball – they say defensive guys are supposed to know more about offensive than offensive guys, and when you have a goat like him, you go to you in practice, get the ball out quickly. take control, stare at you and know exactly where I’re going before I even know – I’ll try to pick it up quickly. “
Rookie tight-end Cade Otton, a fourth-round draft pick from Washington, called being teammates with Brady “super surreal.”
Although he was not one of the players standing around Brady’s closet, he said, “I would not put it past myself to do that. Just super fat.”
But he also acknowledged that he and his other rookies will have to get past the ‘awe factor’, just as Brady’s other Bucs teammates have had to do before him.
“Ultimately, he wants to be one of my teammates and we need to be able to work together,” Otton said.
Featuring tight-end rookie player Ko Kieft, a sixth-round draft pick from Minnesota, he does not expect Brady to go easy with them.
“It has not really hit,” Kieft said. “But I’m sure he’s going to be a demanding guy.”