Cameron Brate wasn't expecting to have a six-time Super Bowl champion as his quarterback in 2020.
The Buccaneers tight end admitted he didn't think Tampa Bay had a shot in the Tom Brady sweepstakes -- even if the Patriots quarterback decided to leave New England in free agency.
"I was honestly pretty surprised," Brate told Sports Illustrated's Nick Selbe recently. "I figured he would stay up in New England or maybe go to L.A., but didn't really think he'd end up in Tampa."
The Los Angeles Chargers were a top suitor for Brady, but the 42-year-old QB reportedly chose Tampa Bay in part because it was closer to his family in New York.
Needless to say, Brate is thrilled with Brady's choice. The veteran tight end restructured his contract to take a pay cut so he could stay with the Bucs and can't wait to catch passes from the GOAT.
"I'm a huge football fan, so I've watched him play for the past 20 years and he's kind of been one of the guys I've looked up to," Brate said. "To hopefully be on the receiving end of some passes from him this year is going to be pretty surreal, and I'm really looking forward to that opportunity."
In fact, Brate has a grand vision for how he and fellow Bucs tight end O.J. Howard can work with Brady: The Harvard product recalls watching Patriots games during the early 2010s when New England's two-tight-end sets of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez tore up the league.
"Back when I was in college was when they had [Rob Gronkowski] and [Aaron] Hernandez working together as the two tight ends, I got to kind of watch that firsthand," Brate said.
"Hopefully, with (Brady) at quarterback for us, we'll get the tight ends a little more involved this year, and me and O.J. are definitely fired up to be part of it."
Brate and Howard aren't exactly Gronkowski and Hernandez 2.0, but the duo combined for 70 receptions, 770 yards and four touchdowns last year with Jameis Winston under center.
With wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans commanding attention from opposing secondaries, Brate and Howard should have plenty of space to operate for a quarterback with an affinity for tight ends.