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Top quarterbacks pause NFLPA rookie premiere to hang out with Tom Brady, Michael Rubin

Peter King tells Mike Florio why he’s “drinking the Bryce Young Kool-Aid” given the way Josh McCown is getting the QB prepared for next season in Carolina.

At first, it seemed to be just another strategically curious tweet from a firehose account that often posts items of little or no relevance to the audience -- but that potentially count as favors that could have scoop-related (or other) benefits down the line. The broader dynamics are sufficiently compelling to merit a closer examination.

On Thursday, Adam Schefter of made this announcement to his 10.3 million Twitter followers: “On first day of NFLPA rookie events in LA, the top 4 QBs drafted -- Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Will Levis -- are instead attending a lunch at Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin’s house with Tom Brady, Travis Scott and Rubin to discuss entrepreneurship and brand building.”

First reaction: So what? Second reaction: If this tweet passed through the filter, why didn’t Schefter post a single thing acknowledging that Pat McAfee is joining the ESPN family on a full-time basis?

Delayed reaction: The whole thing seems a little odd.

The delayed reaction was bolstered by the video that emerged from the event, featuring Rubin, Brady, and Scott giving the four quarterbacks advice. The video was shot at an angle aimed at created a subtle impression that the participants didn’t know the cameras were on. (Spoiler: They knew.) Brady, as he speaks, comes off as if he’s talking to kids at least 10 years younger.

“When Trav, something goes wrong with Trav, or with Mike, with his company, right?” Brady told them. “With me, like, the only thing you can do is work harder, man. The only thing you can do is work harder. Like defeats can’t make you work less hard. I think that’s the point. Like when shit hits the fan, you’ve got to change the energy. You’ve got to put more into it, never less into it. . . . Be curious, be humble, and work hard.”

I’d love to know what Young, Stroud, Richardson, and Levis were thinking while they were being addressed as if they were middle-school day-campers. They’re grown men. They’ve been through adversity. They’ve achieved the highest levels of success at the second highest level of the most popular sport in the country. I think they know the importance of working hard and not giving up after a bad day.

Also, Rubin’s mega-company, Fanatics, just bought the American operations of the PointsBet sports book. Fanatics hopes to be operating sports books in 15-20 states by the start of football season. And here he is, cozying up to the top four quarterbacks entering the NFL for the 2023 season. Even as we become more and more desensitized to betting on football and other sports, the optics of four key NFL players visiting the home of the CEO of a sports book seem a little off.

Speaking of optics, Brady is about to become a minority owner of the Raiders. Once the deal goes through, direct, private meetings like this with players from other teams could potentially violate one of various league rules. Up to and including tampering. If these events continue, what’s to stop Brady from eventually pulling one of the players aside and whispering, “We need you on the Raiders. We’ll get you at the right time”?

Then there’s the oh-by-the-way wrinkle that they skipped out on at least part the first day of the NFLPA rookie premiere event to “instead attend” the meeting with Rubin, Brady, and Scott. How does the NFLPA feel about this? Brady recently criticized the union. Is this part of an effort by him to undermine the operation in some way? Now that he’s on the verge of becoming an owner, he’s morphing into one of the people against whom the union constantly fights.

Finally, I’d love to know (and I’ll try to find out) whether the players got paid to attend this event. They should have, because it seems as if the whole thing had more to do with promoting the hosts than it did helping their guests, especially when considering the sixth-grade, rah-rah, work-hard message from Brady.