NFL's Vita Vea Gruesomely Loses Tooth ... In Middle Of Play!!!

Vita Vea -- Tom Brady's teammate and arguably the Bucs' best defensive player -- needed both an ice bath AND a trip to the dentist after Tampa's game Sunday ... 'cause he lost a tooth in the middle of a play!!!

The gnarly scene all went down in the second quarter of the Buccaneers' contest with the Indianapolis Colts -- when Vea's helmet got dislodged while rushing the quarterback.

You can see in footage of the play, as Vea was putting pressure on the passer -- a Colts O-lineman stuck his helmet right into the big nose guard's mouth ... causing a tooth to pop out!

Cameras caught the little piece of Vea flying out of the 6-foot-4, 346-pounder's face -- and, yeah, it was gnarly.

Vea, though, took the shot like a champ -- and, in fact, when he got to the sideline, he was all smiles ... drinking water and laughing with teammates!!

After the game -- one in which Vea and the Bucs held on to beat Indy, 37-31 -- his head coach had no sympathy for his player ... with Bruce Arians telling reporters, "I don't care. He's got 30 other ones."

Harsh -- but something tells us based on the photo Vea took in the locker room after the game that he'd probably agree.

Antonio Brown I Didn't Fake My COVID Vaccine Card ... Allegations Aren't True

2:39 PM PT -- The Buccaneers just said in a statement they reviewed all of their players' cards -- presumably including Brown's -- and "no irregularities were observed."

Antonio Brown is calling BS on his former chef ... saying he did NOT submit a fake COVID vaccine card to the NFL.

The chef, Steven Ruiz, told the Tampa Bay Times Brown sought and then obtained the fraudulent paper back in July ... but a rep for Brown says it's just flat-out not true.

In a statement to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Brown's attorney, Sean Burstyn, said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver is, in fact, vaccinated -- and does, in fact, have valid paperwork.

"Be like Antonio brown and get the vaccine," Rapoport says Burstyn told him.

Ruiz had told the Times that he had a text message exchange from Brown's girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, that helped prove the case against Brown.

In the messages, which Ruiz says were sent on July 2 -- less than a month before the Bucs opened training camp this summer -- Ruiz says Moreau told him Brown was searching for bogus cards.

"Can you get the covid cards," Ruiz claims Moreau said.

"I can try," Ruiz responded.

"JNJ shot," Ruiz said Moreau added. "Ab said he will give you $500."

Ruiz claims Brown was looking for a Johnson & Johnson version because it's just one shot -- and therefore would be less paperwork and much easier to sneak past NFL officials.

Ruiz says he was unable to get AB the card ... but he claims Brown was able to land fake ones for himself and Moreau a few weeks later nonetheless.

Ruiz says Brown actually showed him the fake papers ... and said Brown's trainer, Alex Guerrero, was the one who ultimately submitted AB's paperwork to the team (though Ruiz says he believes Guerrero did not know it was a fake).

It should be noted Ruiz has issues with Brown, with the chef claiming the two had a falling out over $10,000 that Ruiz says Brown never paid him.

Reps for the Bucs have yet to comment on the situation.

Brown, meanwhile, did miss Tampa's Week 3 game earlier this season due to COVID ... but recovered and played in the following three games before an ankle injury on Oct. 14 put him on the shelf.

Originally Published -- 2:22 PM PT

Jason Garrett Praises Tom Brady ... 'He's The Best That's Ever Walked'

Jason Garrett just unloaded the highest compliment possible on Tom Brady ... saying the Bucs quarterback is the best football player "that's ever walked."

The Giants offensive coordinator laid down the praise for the Tampa Bay superstar at his weekly press conference Thursday ... just three days before NY plays TB12 in Florida.

CARVE HIM IN MT. RUSHMORE
New York Giants

"They're going to make a Mt. Rushmore of football players at some point," the former Dallas Cowboys head coach said. "And, the first face they chisel will be that guy's face."

"He's the best that's ever walked."

Garrett continued, "He's a hell of a football player. What he's done over the last 20 years has been remarkable. And, to think he's 44 years old and probably playing the best ball of his career, it's really amazing."

The admiration is lofty ... but, of course, it's probably deserved.

Tom, after all, has been to 10 Super Bowls -- winning seven of them -- and could potentially win his FOURTH MVP award following this season. He's also been selected to 14 Pro Bowls.

"He's an inspiration to everybody," Garrett said. "In and out of sports."

Garrett and the Giants will face Brady on "Sunday Night Football" this weekend.

Bucs Fan Byron Kennedy Still No Regrets Over Returning Tom Brady TD Ball ... I Swear!!!

I DID THE RIGHT THING
TMZSports.com

Byron Kennedy's now had three days to stew over returning a $500,000 ball to Tom Brady ... but he tells TMZ Sports he STILL has no regrets about handing over the pigskin.

We got the Tampa Bay Bucs superfan on Wednesday ... and he made it clear, he's not feeling down in the dumps one bit about giving away TB12's 600th TD ball on Sunday -- even after half a week to think about his decision.

"I think I did the right thing," Kennedy said. "I'm happy Tom has it."

As we previously reported, Mike Evans accidentally gave away the Brady ball to Kennedy following his touchdown catch against the Chicago Bears ... and after the Bucs asked for it back, Byron obliged.

The problem ... memorabilia experts say it was worth half a mil!!

Kennedy, though, has since been rewarded for his troubles ... the team hooked him up with tickets and swag, and Brady and Rob Gronkowski have since sent him cryptocurrency as well.

And, Byron tells us the return haul has been more than enough for him, saying, "It's all working out pretty well."

Sure, it's not exactly 18 holes on the golf course with Brady ... but it's clear, Kennedy's very happy nonetheless -- even if his wallet ain't.

Rob Gronkowski & Mojo Muhtadi Gifting Bucs Fan $30K In Crypto ... After Giving Up Brady's 600th TD Ball

The fan who gave up Tom Brady's 600th TD ball might not have the $500K pigskin, but his Coinbase account is surging in value, 'cause Rob Gronkowski and Mojo Muhtadi are hooking up the dude with over $30K in tokens!!

Gronk and Mojo (along with Steve Aoki) partnered with a new crypto company called Beyond Protocol earlier this year, Muhtadi tells TMZ Sports. BP says they specialize in tech that allows internet-connected devices to communicate safely.

Anyways, back to the Bucs fan, Byron Kennedy.

As we previously reported, TB12 joined Eli and Peyton Manning on MNF and announced he was giving the fan 1 Bitcoin -- currently worth about $60K -- for giving up the extremely valuable ball.

Cool, but still not worth half a milli (at least not yet).

Enter Mojo and Gronk ... Muhtadi tells us he spoke to the company, and they've decided to hook the fan up with 690 coins (if you know Mojo, you get this) worth about $44 each.

Do the math ... that's nearly $31K in value.

And, in addition to the BTC, Brady and the Bucs are hooking the fan up with a bunch of cool memorabilia ... including signed jerseys, a helmet, cleats, AND 2 season tickets for the rest of this season and next season.

Might not be at $500,000 yet, but we're getting closer!

Tom Brady I'm Giving Bucs Fan A Bitcoin ... For 600th TD Ball

6:15 AM PT -- 10/26 Brady announced on Monday night he's sweetening the pot even further for the Bucs fan ... saying he's giving the dude a full bitcoin as part of the negotiation process.

TB12 revealed the deal to Peyton and Eli Manning on their "Monday Night Football" Manningcast, telling the brothers, "At the end of the day, I think he's still making out pretty well."

FYI -- one bitcoin is currently worth roughly $62,000 ... which still ain't $500k, but at least it's getting closer!

3:22 PM PT -- It turns out the fan who ended up with Tom Brady's 600th tuddy got quite the hookup from the Bucs ... 'cause he's getting a bunch of awesome swag in return for the pigskin.

The lucky fan is getting two signed jerseys AND a helmet from Mr. Brady himself, a Mike Evans autographed jersey and game-worn cleats and $1,000 to the team store, TMZ Sports has confirmed.

But, that's not all -- the fan is also getting 2 season tickets to the remainder of this season and next season ... so he's getting even more opportunities to get another TB12 ball.

It's still not half a milli, but it's an awesome move by the Bucs.

The guy who gave back Tom Brady's 600th TD pass ball might have cost himself a small fortune ... 'cause one memorabilia expert says the pigskin was worth at least $500K!!

Here's the deal ... after catching the record-setting touchdown pass from Brady in the 1st quarter of the Bucs' win over the Bears, Mike Evans ran over to a Tampa Bay fan and gave away the ball.

Evans didn't think much of it at the time -- he does the nice gesture after most of his TDs -- but when he got back to the sideline, he realized his blunder.

Cameras at Raymond James Stadium caught Mike full of regret over handing away the valuable item (no player in NFL history has ever thrown for 600 in their careers) ... and eventually, Bucs staffers got to work on getting it back.

Somehow, during the middle of the game, the team convinced the guy to return the ball ... a move auction expert Ken Goldin says could have cost him HALF A MILLION DOLLARS -- and maybe even more than that.

"Given how historic this ball is as the first 600th TD in NFL history," Goldin said, "I'd estimate this ball to be worth a minimum of $500,000 (and possibly much more)."

The fan said during an interview mid-game that he gave back the ball simply because he was told Brady really wanted it.

"The trainer came over and asked for it," the fan said. "What am I going to do? Say no to Tom Brady?"

The fan added that he was promised some swag and maybe a handshake from Brady in return for it all.

As for Brady's side of it all, he was pleased with the guy's good gesture -- telling reporters after the game, "He’s going to get something nice in return."

"We'll get him a helmet or a couple of jerseys or some other stuff. It was really cool of him to do that."

REWARDS FOR RESPECT
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Originally Published -- 10/25 6:18 AM PT

Tom Brady On NFL Future ... I Can 'Literally' Play Until I'm 55

Bad news for Tom Brady haters ... the quarterback says if he wanted to, he could play in the NFL TEN more years!!!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers star made the revelation before beating the Eagles on "Thursday Night Football" ... saying he could "literally" play until he's 55 years old.

"I really think I can play as long as I want," the 44-year-old said to Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm. "I really do."

Brady has always maintained that his goal is to be under center until he's 45 years old ... but, lately, he's talked more and more about getting into his 50s.

The reason? TB12 says his body is just holding up that well.

"My physical body won't be the problem," Brady said.

Of course, NFL legend Joe Montana said the same thing earlier this month ... claiming because Brady is so physically fit and takes hits so infrequently, he could see him playing into his 60s.

As for if Brady will actually do it, he said probably not ... explaining, "I don't think I will, obviously."

"I think it'll just be, I'm just missing too much of life with my family."

Still, several more years of Brady under center seems inevitable. Deal with it, GOAT haters.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jon Gruden Pulled From Ring Of Honor ... Skechers Drops Coach

2:55 PM PT -- The Buccaneers have followed in Skechers' footsteps and cut ties with Gruden as well ... announcing Tuesday the coach will no longer be recognized in Tampa Bay's Ring of Honor.

"While we acknowledge Jon Gruden's contributions on the field," the team said, "his actions go against our core values as an organization."

"Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor."

Gruden coached the Bucs from 2002 to 2008 ... winning one Super Bowl with the team.

First, Jon Gruden lost his job ... now, he's lost his biggest sponsorship too.

Skechers has terminated its contract with the former Las Vegas Raiders head coach ... after learning the 58-year-old wrote racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails from 2011 to 2018.

"Skechers is aware of the recent press reporting on the emails of Jon Gruden, which caused him to resign his N.F.L. coaching position," a spokesperson for the shoe giant said in a statement Tuesday.

"Upon learning of these developments, we immediately terminated Mr. Gruden’s endorsement contract and our affiliation with him."

Gruden had been one of the faces of Skechers, appearing in ads for the company for the past several months.

"Skechers believes in equality, fostering tolerance, and understanding for all people," the spokesperson said. "It is at the core of who we are as a global lifestyle brand and why we have a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior within our business including those with who we formally work with."

"We believe taking a stand against racist or derogatory comments and for inclusion of all is imperative."

The news comes just one day after Gruden was ousted from his role as Las Vegas head man following the news that he had hurled an anti-gay slur toward Roger Goodell and used other offensive language in multiple emails.

In announcing his parting of ways with the Raiders ... Gruden apologized for the messages, and added, "I never meant to hurt anyone."

The Raiders have named Rich Bisaccia as their interim head coach in wake of Gruden's departure.

Originally Published -- 2:48 PM PT

Joe Montana Tom Brady Can Play Until He's 60 ... Here's Why

We all know Father Time is undefeated, but Joe Montana clearly doesn't believe that applies to Tom Brady … 'cause he thinks the G.O.A.T. can play football until he's 60!

Montana -- who was Brady's childhood idol -- recently spoke with USA Today, where he said he wouldn't be shocked if the seven-time Super Bowl champ played well beyond even 50 years old.

The reason?? Joe Cool says it's simple -- 44-year-old Tom rarely ever gets touched by defenses.

"He's hardly ever getting hit," Montana said. "So, he could play until maybe 60, I don't know."

"The way it is with the rules, he just doesn't take those big hits anymore," Montana added. "Yeah, he gets hit on occasion, but it's never one of those, '300 pounds compressing you into the ground.' They stopped that from being legal. They just don't do that anymore."

Brady has said recently he could probably play 'til the age of 50, but he's always maintained the goal -- for now -- is to just get to 45.

If anybody can squeeze another decade-plus out of his body, though, we're pretty sure it'd be Brady ... never bet against the G.O.A.T.

Rob Gronkowski 'Spirits Are High' Despite Injury ... Says BFF Mojo Muhtadi

CAN'T KEEP HIM DOWN!
TMZSports.com

Rob Gronkowski ain't down in the dumps at all after busting up his ribs ... in fact, his "spirits are high" and he WILL be back this season better than ever -- so says his best pal Mojo Muhtadi.

The former WWE star and co-host of the "TMZ Sports" TV show on FS1 (airs nightly) said Monday he's been in talks with Gronk constantly since the Bucs TE was injured against the Rams on Sept. 26 -- and he raved over how the Bucs star is handling everything.

"His spirits are high," Rawley said. "If anything, he's probably a little bit more bored this week not being able to turn up and go full tilt."

"But, man, I'll tell you what, I don't care if he would have punctured both lungs, broke every rib in his body -- you can only keep that man down for only so long."

Rawley -- just like Tampa Bay themselves -- isn't sure when the 32-year-old will make his return to the field ... but he did make it clear, the injury is no threat whatsoever to ending Rob's career.

"It's going to take a lot more than that to stop Robbie G!" Mojo said.

That's got to be great news for Tom Brady ... 'cause in the first game without Gronk on Sunday against the Pats -- the star QB threw for just 269 yards and no TDs on 43 pass attempts.

"I'd say this is probably the sixth, or the ninth-most severe injury I've seen from Rob," Rawley said with a smile. "So, yeah, we're good. Don't worry about it."

Full show with Mojo airs tonight!

Tom Brady Brief Hug With Bill ... After Bucs Beat Pats

5:54 AM PT -- 10/4 -- Shortly after Tom Brady beat the Patriots ... he got some love from his ex-coach too, sharing an embrace on the field with Bill Belichick that lasted just a few quick seconds.

Broadcast cameras caught the brief hug ... one in which Bill appeared to say a few words to Tom. Brady's ex-offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, meanwhile, also came in for a long clinch and talk after the moment with Bill.

According to ESPN, Belichick later met with Brady in Tampa Bay's locker room after New England lost 19-17 ... staying and talking with TB12 for around 20 minutes.

Tom Brady and Robert Kraft clearly have no bad blood ... 'cause the Bucs quarterback and Patriots owner just shared a moment in the bowels of Gillette Stadium, hugging it out before the team's battle on Sunday Night Football.

TB12 will play his old team -- in New England -- for the first time since bolting for Tampa Bay before the start of last season.

Many football fans wondered what the interaction between Brady and Kraft and Bill Belichick would be like... would there be hard feelings or a warm reaction?

A few hours before kickoff, Tom and Robert met up in a back hallway, spoke briefly, and embraced each other before going their separate ways.

Of course, the Bucs won the Super Bowl last season -- Brady's 7th -- while his old squad struggled without him, going 7-9 with Cam Newton at the helm.

During the week leading up to tonight's game, Belichick -- who reportedly had tension with Brady during his last years in NE -- was extremely complimentary of the G.O.A.T.

Despite the reported beef, Brady seems happy to be back, posting about returning to Foxborough on social media earlier Sunday, saying ... "Good to be back"

Kraft previously said the Pats plan to honor Brady before what's become the most anticipated game of the 2021 NFL season.

Brady -- a 6th round draft pick of NE in 2000 -- played 20 seasons with the Patriots ... winning 3 NFL MVPs and 6 Super Bowls with Belichick and Kraft.

Originally Published -- 10/3 4:07 PM PT

Deion Branch Pats Fans Won't Boo Brady ... In Return To New England

BITTERSWEET HOMECOMING
TMZSports.com

There will be nothing but cheers for Tom Brady in his return to New England, so says Deion Branch, who tells TMZ Sports he expects NO boos from the Patriots faithful on Sunday.

Brady is making his first trip to Gillette Stadium as a Pats opponent after dominating for the home team for years ... and many are wondering, what will the reception be like when he hits the field in Buccaneers jerseys this weekend?

Branch, a Pats legend, says it'll be nothing but love -- at least initially -- explaining to us, "I think these guys are going to be received well."

"They've earned that," Branch added.

Now, as the game goes on, Branch says he can see things going a little bit differently.

"There's no way that the Boston fans will just sit back and be ok with Gronk catching a 40-yard, 50-yard pass," Branch said. "No, there will be some boos."

"But, in the beginning, I do believe deep down inside these guys will be received well."

Boos or not, Branch is expecting the Patriots to pull off the upset -- despite being a heavy underdog in the game.

As for all the hooplah and festivities surrounding the evening, Branch tells us he's envisioning plenty of tears flowing -- but believes all of the players will be ready to go by kickoff.

Game starts in just a matter of hours, getcha popcorn ready!

Tom Brady Return To NE ... Most In-Demand Game Of NFL Season

Tom Brady's first game at Gillette Stadium in an away uniform is BY FAR the most coveted ticket of the NFL season ... with sales skyrocketing leading up to Sunday's big matchup.

TMZ Sports has learned ... the average ticket price for the Buccaneers vs. Patriots showdown is a whopping $1,222 on StubHub ... with the cheapest seats coming in at $275.

We're told Brady's homecoming is crushing every other game of the NFL season in ticket sales ... outselling the second most popular game by 20%!!

As for who's going to the game -- the majority of fans are from Massachusetts (duh) ... with 8% of spectators coming from California and another 7% coming from Brady's new state of Florida.

The game has been hyped up since the schedule was released back in May ... and many have called it one of the biggest regular season ones in NFL history.

Brady has downplayed the whole thing ... claiming he's not expecting a "homecoming" as it's just another Sunday night game to him.

It may not go as TB12 plans -- after all, the guy is responsible for those 6 Super Bowl banners in the stadium.

But, folks aren't SOL if they want to see it all go down in person -- we're told there are still about 2,200 tix left on StubHub.

Richard Sherman Signs With Buccaneers ... After Tom Brady Recruiting Pitch

Tom Brady has helped bring yet another superstar to Tampa Bay ... Richard Sherman just announced he's signed with the Buccaneers after the G.O.A.T. recruited him to the squad.

The 3-time All-Pro cornerback revealed the news on his podcast early Wednesday morning ... saying he had interest from the 49ers, Panthers and Seahawks, but ultimately signed with Tampa Bay after an initial recruiting pitch from Brady.

"He reached out and said they may express interest and obviously he wanted to play with me," Sherman said of the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

"Then their front office reached out and the conversation started a few weeks ago when they lost their starter, Sean Murphy-Bunting -- and then it kind of steamrolled."

Details of the deal have yet to be announced ... but it's a fairly surprising move from the Bucs -- considering Sherman is still facing criminal charges as well as potential discipline from the NFL stemming from his wild July arrest.

As we previously reported, law enforcement has accused Sherman of drinking and driving, crashing his car and then completely melting down at his in-laws' home in Washington.

7/14/21
"COME THROUGH, B****!"

The 33-year-old NFL player is facing five charges over the incident -- and while he's pled not guilty to all of the counts, he's since apologized for his actions several times.

But, it seems clear the Bucs are comfortable with his legal situation regardless ... 'cause Sherman said on his podcast he's ready to get going in Florida ASAP.

"It's an opportunity I couldn't pass up," Sherman said. "It's a proven team. I just need to go in there and show that these legs still got some juice."

No word on if Sherman will immediately suit up for the Bucs' game against the Patriots on Sunday ... or if he'll wait for the game against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 10.

Tom Brady Not Expecting 'Homecoming' ... In Return To Foxboro

Tom Brady is treating his big return to Foxboro like a regular football game ... claiming he's not expecting any fanfare against the Patriots this Sunday.

Right, like that's gonna happen.

Week 4 will mark TB12's first trip back to Gillette Stadium since leaving the Pats in 2020 ... and in his one year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all he's done is win the Super Bowl over the Kansas City Chiefs. No biggie.

But, with Sunday's reunion approaching, Brady says he's not going to waste any time thinking about his first 20 years with the Pats.

"I'm not going to necessarily reminisce," Brady told ESPN this week. "I don't think this is the moment for that. I'll have plenty of opportunities to reminisce about my football career."

"None of which I really care to do right now because I'm so much in the moment. I'm not going to be thinking about 20 years of history."

"I'm going to be thinking about one night of football, a Sunday night game coming off a really tough loss."

Brady's former partner in crime -- Bill Belichick -- hasn't fared as well without the G.O.A.T. under center. BB finished his 2020 coaching campaign with a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Both teams come into this game having suffered defeat in Week 3 ... so the stakes will be high when the teams kickoff on Sunday Night Football.

As for what Tom expects???

"I mean, I think they're there to root for their team, and their team is the Patriots," Brady said. "I think they're gonna cheer for their team as I would expect them to, and I think if they know anything about me, they're gonna know that I'm going out there to try to win the football game, so I think they'll respect that about me."

As it turns out, Brady is just a few yards from passing Drew Brees on the all-time passing yards list on Sunday ... which is quite the full-circle moment for TB12.

No matter what Brady wants, it's gonna be tough for the Pats to NOT thank the guy for 6 Super Bowls.

Julian Edelman Brady Vs. Pats Game Is 'Gonna Be Weird' ... Like Divorced Parents!!!

Julian Edelman says the NFL's most anticipated game -- pitting his old QB, Tom Brady and the Bucs against his old team, the Patriots -- is gonna be be super weird for him ... almost like a child at a party with his "divorced parents."

The teams are playing October 3 ... and it'll be the first time that TB12 returns to Gillette Stadium since leaving the Pats in 2020.

And, Edelman -- who played with Brady and Rob Gronkowski in New England for 11 seasons before retiring -- is hyped about the game.

"It's definitely gonna be weird," Edelman told ABC6.

"It's like going to a family barbecue or like a basketball event and you're the step kid, or you're like the kid who has divorced parents and your mom and dad are there and you don't know how to react."

"Are they going to fight? Are they not going to fight? It's going to be interesting. But, I am excited. Who's not excited for it? It's going to be an exciting game."

So, is Edelman rollin' with his former team or former QB? He says Pats all day!

"I want the Patriots to win," Edelman says, "but I also want them to do well -- Gronk and Tom, so we'll see."

"I hope Tom does great. I hope everyone stays healthy. I hope Gronk does great but I hope like it's just a high scoring battle and maybe lil Mac [Jones] comes out, who knows? We'll see."

But, Edelman then takes it back ... saying he "can't be taking sides right now" since he's now an "Inside the NFL" analyst.

"I'm gonna have to take the fifth on that one, actually."

Smart move!

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