Tom Brady, Buccaneers Motivated by ‘Unfinished Business’
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — When Tom Brady announced he was ending his brief retirement and returning to the NFL for a 23rd season, Leonard Fournette wasn’t caught off guard.
The Tampa Bay running back recalls having a conversation with the seven-time Super Bowl winner a few days after the team’s NFC divisional-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams last January — a defeat that ended the Buccaneers’ bid to repeat as champions.
“I’m like ‘TB, we can’t go out like that.’ He agreed with me,” Fournette said.
“As a champion,” the sixth-year pro, who re-signed with the Bucs shortly after Brady unretired, added, “I knew he wouldn’t want to go out like that for his legacy.”
Brady, who turned 45 a week into training camp, cited “unfinished business” as one of the reasons for changing his mind.
Before taking an 11-day break from the team during the preseason for personal reasons, he shrugged off questions about his ability to defy the odds and continue to excel at his advancing age.
“I don’t think you can do anything without incredible support. This is not about me, it’s about all of the people that have supported me to get to this point and I’m very grateful,” Brady said. “I’m just super grateful to everybody who has played an important role, and you can’t take anything for granted.”
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Brady’s retirement/unretirement wasn’t the only development during a busy offseason. Todd Bowles begins his second stint as a head coach after being promoted from defensive coordinator to replace Bruce Arians, who retired and became a consultant to general manager Jason Licht. Bowles coached the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018.
Brady led the NFL in completions, passing yards and touchdowns in 2021. Injuries and uncharacteristic mistakes during the loss to the Rams were factors in Tampa Bay failing to get back to the Super Bowl after setting a club record for regular-season victories with 13.
“I don’t think there’s any excuses. You either get the job done or you don’t. There’s only one team that is really happy at the end of the year, and it is the team that wins,” Brady said. “You have to come out the next year and do everything you can to put yourself in position.”
Licht traded for former New England guard Shaq Mason to fill an opening created by losing Alex Cappa in free agency. There likely will be at least two other new starters playing in front of Brady after center Ryan Jensen suffered a knee injury on the second day of training camp and left guard Aaron Stinnie suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second preseason game. Young players will be counted on to step up, with second-year pro Robert Hainsey taking over at center and rookie Luke Goedeke and second-year pro Nick Leverett vying for the job at left guard.
“It’s not about experience, it’s about experience playing. Luke and Nick do a great job right now. They’re getting a lot of reps, so they’ve earned that right to compete for that spot,” Bowles said. “We don’t mind playing rookies. … It’s just a matter of them getting in-game experience.”
The Bucs remain determined to surround Brady with everything he needs to win an eighth Super Bowl ring. That includes bringing in receivers Julio Jones and Russell Gage to bolster an already strong group of playmakers led by Fournette, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph was signed after Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement, and ex-Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks was added to replace Ndamukong Suh.
Licht credits Brady, as well as the championship culture the Bucs have developed, for the success he’s had landing established players looking for an opportunity to play for a Super Bowl contender.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think in all those negotiations one of the top priorities that they had on their list was going to a team that they had a good chance of getting a ring. … It’s a very attractive (factor),” the general manager said. “I’m not saying we’re definitely going to win the Super Bowl. We have a long road to go here and short time to get there. We just all feel we’re on the same page and we have a good chance.”
Tampa Bay’s defense, which has been one of the best against the run over the past three years, will face three of the NFL’s top quarterbacks in the first four weeks of the season. Linebacker Shaquil Barrett welcomes the challenge.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always loved playing against the best players in the league because it’s a chance to make your mark on the league,” Barrett said.
“I’m always trying to prove myself and trying to earn my keep in this league and on this team,” Barrett added. “Going against those guys and making plays against those guys will help me do that. And if I do that, it will help the team succeed, too.”
Magic Gaming to Host First NBA 2K League Game at leAD Lake Nona on May 28
Orlando, Fla. — Magic Gaming will host Hornets Venom GT on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. at the leAD Lake Nona Sports & Health Tech Accelerator, (7004 Tavistock Lakes Blvd., Orlando), Magic Gaming’s new home. The game is free and open to the public.
Magic Gaming is one of eight teams selected by the NBA 2K League to host an in-person, in-market game during the 2023 season. After doors open, there will be a pregame show and team/player introductions. Following the game there will be a postgame show and Q&A session with the Magic Gaming team.
The match between Magic Gaming and Hornets Venom GT will take place during week two of group play in THE TIPOFF tournament. It will also be streamed on the OrlandoMagicGaming Twitch channel.
THE TIPOFF is the first tournament featuring 5v5 gameplay of the season. For the first time, the NBA 2K League season was separated into 3v3 and 5v5 halves. The 3v3 portion of the season began with the NBA2KL 3v3 SLAM OPEN on March 8 and finished with the NBA2KL 3v3 Finals on Saturday, May 13. The 5v5 competition tips off on Wednesday, May 23 with THE TIPOFF and will culminate with the NBA2KL 5v5 Finals on Saturday, August 5.
Magic Gaming finished the 3v3 season with a 10-17 overall record after a loss in the STEAL OPEN semifinals against Blazer5 Gaming on May 6. In the 2022 5v5 NBA 2K League season, Magic Gaming clinched their first playoff berth in franchise history.
Orlando Magic, AdventHealth Recognized with Downtown Orlando Partnership Golden Brick Award for AdventHealth Training Center
Orlando, Fla. (May 4, 2023) — The Orlando Magic and its partner, AdventHealth, were recognized with the Downtown Orlando Partnership (DOP) Golden Brick Award for the Magic’s AdventHealth Training Center, taking home its Award of Excellence. The DOP awarded 15 Golden Bricks at its annual luncheon on May 2 with projects nominated for community and development which positively impacted downtown Orlando in 2023.
In August of 2022, the DeVos family, Magic and AdventHealth unveiled the state-of-the-art AdventHealth Training Center as part of the Magic and AdventHealth’s continuing commitment to health and wellness. The new downtown facility serves as the training site for the Magic and a destination sports medicine hub to Central Florida. Together, the two organizations continue to build an innovative health and wellness model that brings whole-person medicine, science and research together to optimize sports performance, bringing those learnings to the broader community.
The center, one block from Amway Center, boasts 130,000-square-feet located on a nearly four-acre site at South Division Avenue and West Central Boulevard. The $70 million facility marks the latest investment in the Parramore community and in the continued growth and revitalization of this historic neighborhood.
The Orlando Magic and AdventHealth also furthered its commitment to Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) with the awarding of $17 million of design and construction contracts for the project to 33 local MWBEs. That amount represented approximately 32 percent of awarded opportunities, which is over the city’s recommended 24 percent MWBE participation.
The facility was designed by HOK, with Balfour Beatty serving as the construction manager.
The Golden Brick Awards is Downtown Orlando Partnership’s exclusive annual awards celebrating the people, projects, and initiatives that propel downtown forward. During the past year, DOP welcomed new projects and introduced those that will enhance the vibrancy and appeal of downtown. Every year, the DOP hosts the Golden Brick Awards to recognize the best community and development projects that impacted downtown.
XFL DC Defenders defeats Arlington Renegades 28-26 in overtime
WASHINGTON DC (FNN SPORTS) – The D.C. Defenders improved to 8-1 Sunday after defeating Arlington Renegades 28-26 in overtime at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
Currently, the DC Defenders and Houston Roughnecks are still the only teams to clinch playoff spots, giving week 10 a significant amount of consequences for the remaining two spots.
D.C. jumped on the Renegades early as quarterback Jordan Ta’amu threw two touchdown passes and D’Eriq King also had one to give the Defenders a 20-9 halftime lead.
D.C. struck again in the third quarter when former Washington Redskins and longtime NFL safety, D.J. Swearinger intercepted Arlington quarterback Luis Perez and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. At this point, the Defenders led 26-9.
The Renegades made a furious fourth-quarter comeback after a pair of De’Veon Smith touchdown runs and a field goal to suddenly tie the game on a Taylor Russolino 27-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.
The game went into overtime where Ta’amu found Jake Hammond for the score and another Defenders’ win.
Next up for D.C. is a trip to San Antonio to close out the regular season before returning home in two weeks to host either St. Louis or Seattle for the North Division championship.
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