Brady denies any conflict with former Bucs coach Arians

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Less than three weeks after Tom Brady announced he was unretiring and returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in mid-March, coach Bruce Arians decided to retire.

Despite the timing of Arians' decision to step away, Brady denies having any problems with his former boss.

"Zero whatsoever," Brady said of Arians on Thursday. "He and I have a great relationship. Part of the reason I chose here was because of Bruce.

"I have great respect for him. He knows how I feel about him – that's the most important thing. And I know how he feels about me."

Brady and Arians won the Super Bowl in their first season together with Tampa Bay in 2020.

Shortly after the 69-year-old coach announced his decision to retire on March 30, future Hall of Fame quarterback Brady took to Instagram to say Arians was a major reason he decided to join the Bucs and that he'll be "forever grateful".

Todd Bowles is taking over from Arians as Brady is returning for his third season with Tampa Bay and 23rd in pro football after leading the league with a career-high 5,316 passing yards in 2021, while also ranking first in passing touchdowns with 43.

The soon-to-be 45-year-old led the Buccaneers to a 13-4 regular-season record and NFC South crown last year, but their season ended with a 27-20 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Brady's long-time companion, Rob Gronkowski, was targeted 11 times in the loss to the Rams, but it's uncertain if he'll be suiting up again this season.

Though many expected Gronkowski to announce he would return after Brady unretired, the 33-year-old tight end has not revealed any decision, and Brady, who has already lured Gronkowski out of retirement once, said he is unaware of his plans.

"I think it's just obviously totally up to him," Brady said. "We'd all love to play with him, but he's got to make the best decision for himself, and he knows that.

"Anyone who cares about him knows that he's doing what's right for him, which is trying to figure it out. We don't have training camp for about six weeks, so whatever he's got to do to figure it out.

"We'll be hopeful if he does, and if he doesn't, then we still gotta go out there and figure out what to do."

The oft-injured Gronkowski is a free agent so does not have to return to the Bucs, though he has implied that if he does play, it will be with Brady.

Brady was reportedly courted by the Miami Dolphins in the last few months while still under contract with Tampa Bay, and he did not refute the rumours that they wanted him as their quarterback or in a front office role.

"I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people," Brady said. "I've had for the last three or four years of my career about different opportunities when I'm done playing football so, I kind of made a decision of what I'd like to do, and I'll get to be in the game of football.

"I think for me, the most important thing is where I'm at now and what I hope to do for this team. That's been my commitment to this team and this organisation.

"It's been so much fun for me to come here two years ago. It's been almost two and a half now and it's been an incredible part of my football journey. And it's not over."

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