Tom Brady finally convinced head coach Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to bring Antonio Brown aboard ... or so the popular theory goes.
After the Bucs signed the free-agent wide receiver to a one-year contract Friday, many assumed Brady was a driving force behind the deal after the two hit it off last season during Brown's brief New England Patriots tenure.
Arians says that assumption is wrong.
"Everybody wants to say that Tom picked him. Tom didn't have anything to do with it," Arians told reporters Sunday after Tampa Bay's win over the Las Vegas Raiders, via ESPN.com. "This was something (Bucs general manager) Jason (Licht) and I had been talking (about) for a couple weeks, ever since the injuries to our other guys."
Tampa Bay is banged up at wide receiver, as Chris Godwin has missed three games due to concussion and Mike Evans is battling an ankle injury.
But Arians, who was Brown's offensive coordinator on the Pittsburgh Steelers, has had issues with the troubled wideout with the past and said in March that the Bucs signing Brown was "not gonna happen" because "it's not a fit in our locker room."
So, what changed Arians' mind if not a nudge from Brady to reunite the QB-WR duo?
"I know everybody wants to say Tom Brady lobbied us to get this done," Arians explained to NBC Sports' Peter King. "Tom Brady lobbied me back in, gosh, June, July, August. I said no. It didn’t fit then. Now, we’re in the hunt. I owe it to the rest of my players—if there’s a guy that fits our salary cap cheap, who’s a Pro Bowl-type player, let’s bring him on our squad.
"Who says he has to start? I mean, we just got another Pro Bowl player to put in if one of those guys go down. AB brings another dynamic to our team that we don’t have. I owe it to the rest of our players to put the best team out there possible."
Brown is eligible to return in Week 9 after serving an eight-game suspension for multiple violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy. It sounds like he'll be on a short leash, with Arians and the Bucs ready to cut bait if he causes any issues.
"I don’t foresee any problems," Arians added. "I don’t anticipate any situation where he and I are gonna have a problem. He knows that if there is, it’s a very short-lived contract."
Arians also told King he got the blessing of every Tampa Bay veteran before signing Brown. We're guessing Brady was eager to give his.