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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles declined to give a firm return date for Tom Brady on Thursday, less than a week after the veteran took an excused leave of absence from the team.
Bowles said last week that Brady would be taking time away from the team to “deal with some personal things” and would be expected back “sometime” after the Bucs’ second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.
On Thursday, when pressed for a more definitive return date, Bowles remained noncommittal.
“We’ll see. We’ll talk about it next week,” he said. “I’m not concerned about it right now.”
“We’re trying to practice against Tennessee and play a game. I said sometime after Tennessee — there is no definitive date for me, but we’ll check on it, we’ll keep in touch and we’ll find out,” he added.
Brady’s lengthy absence follows two missed practices earlier this month — one on his birthday and another the following Friday, with reports citing “a personal matter” as the reason.
But Bowles said last week that this absence was something previously discussed with the team.
“This is something we talked about before training camp started,” he said at the time. “We allotted this time because he wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys and go through two weeks of training camp, knowing he wasn’t going to play the first two games.
Bowles said backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert has “been good” in Brady’s absence and has been “making the right plays.”
“It’s been great for him mentally. The plays might not be there all the time, but the mental reps and what he’s getting and making the right play is very important, not just making a ‘wow’ play. He’s been making the right plays, so it’s been great to have him there.”