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Tom Brady mystery sparks speculation that he’s The Masked Singer

As Tom Brady's preseason absence continues, Mike Florio and Charean Williams question his silence and discuss how it's impacting the Buccaneers.

The fact that no one knows anything about Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady’s current whereabouts during an extended training-camp hiatus for “personal” reasons invites speculation as to where he is and what he’s doing. The longer it lasts, the crazier the speculation.

And the speculation on Friday officially crossed into the land of fuckin’ nutty.

Someone (or multiple someones; I can’t really tell) has cooked up a theory that Tom Brady left training camp for a stint on Fox’s The Masked Singer. The facts offered in support of the theory are flimsy and superficial, and the whole thing seems to have a tongue-in-cheek vibe.

While Brady does have a contract with Fox that extends beyond serving as the network’s No. 1 NFL analyst, it supposedly doesn’t begin until he retires from football. Also, the notion that they’d expect him to ditch nearly two weeks of training camp for something that he could do after he’s done with football seems like a ridiculous stretch.

But this is what happens when one of the highest-profile players in league history leaves camp without a peep, and when his team does a poor job of managing the messaging. The Bucs tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube, a little bit, on Friday, with coach Todd Bowles saying he knows when Brady will be back -- a day after Bowles said he didn’t know.

Horror vacui. Nature abhors a vacuum. Human natures does, too. And with no information to explain the inexplicable Brady training-camp break, we’re looking for anything to help make it make sense. With Brady saying nothing and the circumstances fanning the flames of speculation, it sort of makes sense that something so weird would emerge, and run rampant.

That’s the only reason we decided to post an item on it. This crackpot theory, and the intense coverage of it, has become too big to ignore. And the big winner is Fox, who’ll now have even more people watching the next season of The Masked Singer to see whether Brady emerges from the costume.