Two decades after being part of a play that denied the Raiders a shot at the Super Bowl, Tom Brady was apparently set on joining the silver and black during the 2020 offseason. But according to Rob Gronkowski, Brady joining the Raiders never came to fruition after then-Las Vegas coach John Gruden nixed the idea.
Speaking with Gronkowski on Saturday night, UFC president Dana White said he pieced together a deal that would have sent Brady and Gronkowski to Las Vegas ahead of the 2020 season.
"It was almost a done deal, and at the last minute, Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn't want him, and all hell broke loose," White said. 'It was crazy. Brady was already looking at houses. It wasn't being said yet that Gronk was coming. So Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except Gruden blew the deal up."
"That is exactly what happened," replied Gronk while confirming White's story.
White's story seems to have confirmed what many suspected after Brady told HBO Sports about one particular team that did not seem to want him once he became a free agent.
"One of the teams, they weren't interested at the very end," Brady said. "I was thinking, 'You're sticking with that motherf-----?'"
The story also supports what Gruden said when asked about the team's interest in Brady in March of 2020.
"You're killing me, man," Gruden said, via the Review-Journal. "We love our quarterback. Our quarterback's a really good player, Derek Carr. I want to reiterate that to everybody here in Vegas. We've got a good, young quarterback, and the film, the statistics and analytics prove it."
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Brady and Gronkowski ultimately joined the Buccaneers after a highly successful run with the Patriots. The duo helped Tampa Bay end its 18-year Super Bowl drought, connecting on two touchdown passes in the Buccaneers' 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Gronkowski retired for a second time after the 2021 season, while Brady briefly retired before returning for his 23rd season.
Gruden resigned five games into the 2021 season in the wake of leaked emails in which he repeatedly used insensitive language. In his absence, the Raiders managed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Las Vegas enjoyed a strong season from Derek Carr, who played at a Pro Bowl level despite an injury to tight end Darren Waller and former Las Vegas receiver Henry Ruggs III being arrested and charged with DUI that resulted in the death of an individual.
Carr is expected to be even better this season after the team acquired All-Pro receiver Davante Adams from Green Bay. The Raiders are surely hoping Carr can lead Las Vegas to the franchise's first Super Bowl since 2002.