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Brady on playing season amid pandemic: 'like football for junkies'

(Reuters) - Tom Brady, speaking on just two hours of sleep after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl triumph, said on Monday the COVID-19 restrictions in place during the NFL season ultimately provided him with a breeding ground for excellence.

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Given the many protocols in place to limit the spread of the virus, Brady took full advantage of the opportunity and ramped up his already tireless work ethic and insatiable dedication to sharpening his craft.

“In a unique way it was kind of like, with the coronavirus situation and all the protocols, it was really like football for junkies,” seven-times Super Bowl champion Brady told a video news conference.

“There was not really a lot of other things to do other than show up to work and play football.”

The 43-year-old Brady joined the Buccaneers last March after 20 years and six Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots but had little time to get to know his new team mates before the season began last September.

Brady’s transition to a new team was not made any easier given the absence of an NFL pre-season schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the extra time to study the Bucs’ playbook paid off.

A laser-focused Brady, already widely considered to be the greatest quarterback of all time, turned around the Buccaneers franchise and led them to their first Super Bowl appearance since the team won their maiden title in January 2003.

In the NFL’s championship game, Brady completed 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl for a fifth time.

“Normally there is a lot of other things that go along with playing football,” said Brady.

“So if you love football, this was the year to be a player in the NFL because that’s all it was. It was like football camp with all your buddies year-round so I really enjoyed that part.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar