Patriots

Cameron Brate has lofty goals for Bucs after 'surreal' Tom Brady news

Cameron Brate has lofty goals for Bucs after 'surreal' Tom Brady news

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."

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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."

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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.

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore one of many NFL stars in powerful 'Black Lives Matter' video

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore one of many NFL stars in powerful 'Black Lives Matter' video

Several of the NFL's biggest stars are stepping up to speak out against systemic racism and the racial injustices that once again have come to light in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore joined up with the New York Giants' Saquon Barkley, Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Cleveland Browns' Odell Beckham Jr., Arizona Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins and a number of other high-profile black players to put together a powerful video on Thursday.

In the video, the players reveal what they would like to hear the NFL state about the racial injustices that continue to plague the country.

Watch below:

Hopefully, the league and its fans will hear their message loud and clear.

McCourty twins address Drew Brees' controversial comments, whether they forgive Saints QB

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McCourty twins address Drew Brees' controversial comments, whether they forgive Saints QB

Drew Brees has taken plenty of heat lately due to the comments he made about players "disrespecting the American flag" by kneeling during the national anthem.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was asked during an interview with Yahoo! Finance about players kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America. Brees answered, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."

It didn't take long for the veteran QB to get backlash for those insensitive remarks. A number of Brees' NFL peers, including both Devin and Jason McCourty of the New England Patriots, scolded him for his comments.

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On Thursday, the McCourty twins delved deeper into the subject on a special edition of their Double Coverage podcast titled "Bridge To Action." Following an enlightening interview with former FBI special agent M. Quentin Williams, which you can watch below, the McCourtys addressed the Brees situation. 

"Everybody's been in an uproar over Drew Brees' comments, and obviously we've responded on Twitter," said Jason McCourty. "Somebody had asked earlier, 'do we forgive him?' and I don't think any of this thing is about forgiveness. It's not about Drew Brees, it's not about Jason or Devin McCourty, it's about realizing, 'Alright, here's an issue and we need to find a solution for that issue.' Like, you don't have an issue with Drew Brees when he makes those statements. You have an issue with that train of thought, and that thought is what we're trying to move away from.

"So as soon as anyone who has that thought is willing to dive in and learn, and open up dialogue to talk about -- because I think sometimes we subconsciously have thoughts that we don't know we have, and then we say some things that we may have to take some time to go back and self-reflect ... Maybe I need to look inwardly and see like, 'Hey, maybe I'm not looking at this thing the right way. And I think when we're able to do that, there's no animosity or hostility toward anyone because that's not what we're trying to do. It's about there's an issue, and we want to fix this issue."

Devin McCourty doubled down on what his brother had to say and mentioned that he doesn't have anything against Brees. Rather, he hopes this will help the 41-year-old and others like him look at the situation from a different perspective.

"It's not about forgiving or hating," said Devin. "Like, I've never hated Drew Brees. I don't even know Drew Brees. So it was never about that. It was just, how can we get people to now not look through those lenses. And he's a guy who if he doesn't look through those lenses, he can get a lot of other people to feel the same way. So hopefully some good turns out from that."

Brees has since issued an apology for his comments, saying they "lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."

Beyond the McCourty twins' comments on Brees, their interview with Williams is well worth the watch. Williams is the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization Dedication to Community, whose mission is to "empower individuals and communities to achieve their business and societal goals through the spirit of entrepreneurial enterprise and community advocacy. The McCourtys and Williams had a mindful conversation about the recent killings of unarmed black men, the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color, and the next steps to implementing positive change in the United States.