No one aside from Tom Brady knows why the quarterback left the New England Patriots to join a historically inept Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise.
But there's a popular opinion among current and former players for why Brady skipped town.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was the latest player to weigh in on Brady's free-agent decision Thursday on ESPN's "First Take."
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Here's Fitzpatrick's take:
I honestly wasn’t surprised. I think Tom is a competitor and I think he kind of wanted to prove that he could go somewhere else and do it, you know what I’m saying?
... I just think he wanted to prove, not just to himself, but to the fanbase and the world that he could go somewhere without the great coaching, without the great defense the Patriots had and still have the same success.
If that answer sounds familiar, it's because guys like former Patriots Wes Welker and Willie McGinest, current Patriot Devin McCourty and retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning all saw the same thing: that Brady wanted a new challenge and a chance to prove he can be successful without Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Brady insisted to our Tom E. Curran that proving the doubters wrong isn't his first motivation in Tampa Bay, but it's hard to believe that's not part of the equation.
The 42-year-old still carries a chip on his shoulder from being passed over 198 times in the 2000 NFL Draft, and despite his incredible achievements in New England, he's undoubtedly heard the snarky comments that he can't succeed without Belichick by his side.
If Brady can lift the moribund Bucs to prominence in the NFC, he'll certainly silence his few remaining critics. As for Belichick's Patriots? They have plenty of bulletin board material of their own.