‘Did this really just happen here?’ Tom Brady welcomes Bucs rookies.

Tribune Content Agency

TAMPA, Fla. — For a group of Bucs rookies who grew up watching quarterback Tom Brady, realizing he is now their teammate might not hit home right away.

But when the GOAT slides into your DMs welcoming you to the team?

“Did this really just happen here?” recalled Bucs rookie receiver Tyler Johnson, who received an Instagram direct message from Brady last weekend. Johnson was drafted 161st overall in the fifth round.

On a Bucs’ live stream with the team’s top four draft picks Thursday night, both Johnson and first-rounder Tristan Wirfs said they received DMs from Brady shortly after they were selected.

“He messaged me on Instagram and said he was excited to get to work with me and I kind of said the same thing back,” said Wirfs, the Iowa right tackle now tasked with protecting Brady. “That was pretty crazy. I actually didn’t even see it. I left him on delivered for like 16 hours. It felt pretty cool. I showed my roommate, my best friend, and he took a picture of it on his phone.

Said Johnson, a Minnesota receiver who tallied 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns last season: “He also reached out to me as soon as I got the call. He told me he was excited, can’t wait to get to work … I told him I can’t wait to get to work. I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to it.”

That was enough to leave rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, the team’s third-round pick, wondering if he had overlooked a message from Brady.

“Man, I’m probably gonna have to go check my DMs again,” Vaughn said. “I didn’t get no Tom Brady message at all. I’m going to have to go recheck mine.”

Brady has said one of his biggest priorities is building relationships with his new teammates, and he has reached out to several on the phone.


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