An Oral History of Tom Brady's 600th Touchdown Ball

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

THIS WEEK IN TOM BRADY'S BALL

NFL Week 8 - "I don't keep too many things. In that circumstance, I thought that might be a good one to keep."

—Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady on his 600th touchdown ball, which wide receiver Mike Evans unknowingly gave to a fan after scoring a touchdown. A member of the Buccaneers organization negotiated with the fan to get the ball back by the end of the game. (NFL.com)

"Tom is the one who earned the ball. I just happened to be here and got lucky. … I'm hoping I get to play a round of golf with him."

—Byron Kennedy, the fan who ended up with the touchdown ball, on why he gave it back and what he hopes to get back in exchange. In exchange for the ball, Kennedy received two signed jerseys and a helmet from Brady, a signed Mike Evans jersey and game cleats, $1,000 in credit from the Buccaneers team store, two season tickets for the rest of this season and next, one whole Bitcoin from Brady himself, and an additional $30,000 worth of tokens from Rob Gronkowski and his cryptocurrency partner. (B/R Gridiron via Twitter)

"Byron realized he lost all of his leverage once he gave the ball away. He should have held it and then he has as much leverage as possible."

—Brady on ESPN's ManningCast saying that he probably would have held the ball if he were in Byron's position.

"Amateur move. If he would have held it, he would have been sitting in the Tom Brady suite the rest of the season. Amateur move on his part."

—Peyton Manning affirming the decision to keep the ball instead of giving it away. (NFL via Instagram)

"I accidentally gave it away. I didn't know."

—Mike Evans reiterating after the game he had no idea it was Brady's 600th touchdown pass.

"Well, I might accidentally not throw you another touchdown pass all season."

—Brady's response. (B/R Gridiron via Twitter)

WELL, THAT CLEARS THINGS UP

"I don't have time for that speculation. That's a joke to me. I got of one of the best jobs in all of professional sport. Why would I have any interest in coaching college football? That'll be the last time I address it. And not only today but moving forward. Never say never. But never. OK? ... There's not a booster with a big enough blank check."

"Anybody asking Sean Payton about that? Anybody asking Andy Reid about stuff like that?"

—Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin puts any rumors tying his name to the head coaching vacancy at USC to rest. (NFL.com)

THE MIRACLES OF MODERN MEDICINE

"You don't want to be presumptuous, but if we are able to make the playoffs and give ourselves a chance to play after (the regular season), the expectation is that Cam would be available to play. He's on track to do that. He was running at 80% bodyweight at 10 miles per hour pretty effortlessly, and from the cameras that I saw last week that are kind of right behind his feet on the treadmill, unless you saw the scar you wouldn't notice any sort of hitch in his giddy-up on that. He's attacking the rehab the right way.

"He's doing great. I think the plan is, if we're able to play past the regular season, we'll get Cam back this year and he'll be playing in the playoffs."

—Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay reveals that running back Cam Akers, whose season was believed to be lost after suffering a torn Achilles in July, may be available at some point this season. (NFL.com)

MIKE LEACH: CANDY CONNOISSEUR

"I completely hate candy corn. When I was a kid, [I loved] gummy bears. Gummy bears for sure. Gotta be the Haribo ones. The other thing I like is when they used to have the sprays in a box. Outstanding. You had to go to the dollar store to find it, but I do. And then the latest. ... There's still candy innovation, although awhile back I found that Europe had better candy than we did overall. It's because they have gummy everything. But they have those Nerds Clusters, which is new ... Which is good! The Nerds Clusters is good. And then if you go chocolate, probably Almond Joy."

—Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach on the current state of Halloween candy. (CBS Sports)

YOU'RE YOUR OWN WORST CRITIC

"It's just stuff that I have always got to work on, and I kind of lose sometimes during the season and have to get better with. It's hanging in the pocket, working on my footwork, staying on time, all that stuff like that. You see it kind of get me in certain games every single year, and it's something I have to go back to and learn from and be better at. There were times where I maybe could have stepped and found a soft spot in the pocket where [instead] I kind of got out of there and tried to make something happen. … Whenever we don't get going as an offense, it's usually because I'm doing little things like that."

—Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes provides an evaluation of what has gone wrong for him this season. (ESPN)

NOBODY LEFT TO RUN WITH ANYMORE

"Yeah, the training staff, a lot of those guys are still there. I probably missed two games my whole career while I was there. That's training staff right there, you gotta give those guys a lot of credit for allowing that to happen. Talking to those guys every morning, waking up, going to see those guys, spend a lot of time with the training staff, probably more than the coaches in Houston."

—Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on whether he was excited to see anyone when facing off against his former team, the Houston Texans. (Rivers McCown, Football Outsiders via Twitter)

EPITOME OF CONFIDENCE

"I would guess so. I'm going to watch this tape and see if guys are healthy first of all. I don't even know where our guys are at. It was good for Jimmy to be able to get healthy enough to play in this game today."

—San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan when asked if quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would remain the starter. (NFL.com)

CAREFUL WORD CHOICE

"I hear it. I do hear it. I just don't listen to it."

—Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on the trade chatter revolving around the Dolphins trading for Deshaun Watson and sending Tagovailoa elsewhere. (Joe Schad, Palm Beach Post via Twitter)

"I don't not feel wanted."

—Tagovailoa on whether he currently feels "wanted" by the Dolphins. (Miami Dolphins)

RUSS-LESS IN SEATTLE

"Let's say it this way: I have been here a long time, and if we didn't have Russell, I probably wouldn't have been here a long time. Because of all, think of all the magic that he has created in the years. He's got numbers and stats and fourth-quarter thises and thats, and all that stuff. One of the winningest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.

"It'll be really fun when he comes back and plays football again for us this year. We owe a tremendous amount. You can see how hard it is. All of these games, the Rams game … the Steelers and this one, Russell's a factor. He's a fantastic, positive factor and always has been, and those were exactly his time. That's his time. That's when he shines. So, we miss him. In the meantime, we're going to keep fighting and clawing and doing everything we can."

—Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll when asked how much Seattle misses quarterback Russell Wilson. (NFL.com)

GETTING BACK IN THE SADDLE

"You can sense there's no panic. I said this to the guys yesterday, 'We have got to have a sense of urgency.' You know, it's not time to panic, but it almost is. This thing can go in the wrong direction fast. But I think if we have that sense of urgency and we go out there with the right mindset. It starts in practice, if we practice with the right mindset, we make this a competitive environment, we can turn this thing around."

—Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater dissects whether it's time for the Broncos to panic. The Broncos started out the season 3-0 against the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets, losing their next four straight games. (Denver Broncos via Twitter)

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA

TRICK OR TREATS FOR YOUR FEETS

—Check out these Halloween-themed cleats in the lead-up to Sunday's extra-spooky slate.

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