When will Brady return to Bucs? That's still unclear, Bowles says


The greatest quarterback of all time is eight days into his personal leave of absence, and his head coach isn't sure when he'll return.

Tom Brady stepped away from the Buccaneers on Aug. 11 to "deal with some personal things," as Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles told reporters at the time. Bowles initially said the plan was for Brady to return after the Bucs' preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. But when asked about that plan Thursday, Bowles was noncommittal.

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"We'll see," Bowles told reporters. "We'll talk about it next week. Not concerned about it right now. We're trying to practice against Tennessee and play a game.

"I said (Brady will return) 'sometime after Tennessee.' There's no definitive date for me. But we'll check on it, we'll keep in touch and we'll find out."

Bowles said last week that Brady's current absence was pre-planned, and that the two discussed him taking some time off well before training camp. With seven Super Bowl titles under his belt, the 45-year-old has earned the Bucs' leniency, and the expectation is he'll be ready to go for Week 1 of the regular season.

That said, this is the first time Brady has taken extended time off during the preseason -- he missed OTAs with the New England Patriots in 2018, but that was months before training camp began -- and it's a bit curious that the team still doesn't know when he'll return.

(For the record, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Brady and his family are fine, and that there aren't any "medical emergenc(ies)" involved in his absence.)

So, it sounds like the Bucs will just have to wait to hear from Brady, who apparently is taking full advantage of Tampa Bay's flexibility after coming out of a brief retirement earlier this year. 

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