Sports | August 19, 2022 2:29 pm

Conspiracy Corner: Is Tom Brady Skipping Training Camp for “The Masked Singer”?

Since when is Reddit ever wrong?

Tom Brady of Tampa Bay Buccaneers answers questions at a press conference
Is Tom Brady showing off his pipes for Fox?
Julio Aguilar/Getty

On sabbatical from the Buccaneers since August 11th to address “personal things” while the rest of his team is working out at training camp in Tampa Bay under the Florida sun, Tom Brady was supposed to return to the Bucs on August 22nd following a preseason game in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night.

That plan took a hit on Thursday when Tampa coach Todd Bowles became noncommittal when asked by reporters about a return date for his star quarterback. “We’ll see,” Bowles said. “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 ‘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.”

Some, like Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, have theorized that what Bowles and the Bucs might be finding out is Brady is toying with the idea of undoing his un-retirement and that the 45-year-old is calling it quits. “Is he having second thoughts about playing in 2022? Has Father Time finally caught up with him? What if returning to the team he thought he was leaving behind simply isn’t working? What if his heart’s truly not in it? With the ability to make $37.5 million this year from Fox in lieu of making much less to play football, wouldn’t it be tempting to just call it a day as a player and to raise the curtain as an announcer?”

Florio could be right, but we’re more interested in another theory circulating on Reddit that also involves Brady taking on a role at Fox, but not as an announcer. Per a user nicknamed CANNONFIRE (the Bucs fire cannons after touchdowns at home games because they are pirates), Brady is missing camp with his team because he’s filming The Masked Singer for Fox.

It’s actually not such a crazy theory as Brady could have agreed to do the show as part of his deal with Fox as other former NFL players who’ve worked for the network, including Terry Bradshaw and Rob Gronkowski, have done. While he never played in the NFL, broadcaster Joe Buck appeared on The Masked Singer in Season 7 while he was the lead NFL play-by-play man for Fox Sports.

As CANNONFIRE lays out in detail in the post, Brady’s absence from the team also lines up with past summer dates that The Masked Singer has used to film its next season and his leave from the team may have been extended past the 22nd because he has advanced farther than expected in the show. Given how competitive Brady is, that checks.

Then there’s this. Former Brady buddy Antonio Brown was on The Masked Singer back in 2019 when he was still a member of the Steelers and caught some flak for filming the show when he should have been with the team. In a recent Twitter post, Brown seemed to be complaining about a double standard for Brady missing time. While AB didn’t mention The Masked Singer, he certainly could have been referencing it…

“I’m sure Brady and any other possible contestants would have been required to sign an NDA to be on the show. It was also explained in those reports that the absence was known about and approved in advance by the team, which would also make sense,” per CF on Reddit. “A casting/filming deal with a TV studio would have to be set up months in advance to align schedules, set the cast, etc. Brady could have agreed to be on the show back when he was briefly retired and then still had it as an obligation to be fulfilled upon rejoining the team. The leave of absence could have been a condition to him coming back. My theory is that Brady’s leave of absence is to film for The Masked Singer, to fulfill an obligation he signed up for during his brief retirement. There is possible evidence to support this.”

There certainly is…