As if throwing two interceptions in his return home to the San Francisco Bay Area and losing 35-7 weren’t enough, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was asked by 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw to autograph the ball he intercepted.
“It was s— for me, to be honest. It was complete s— (laughter),” Brady said on his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray. “But I try to be a gentleman. No, actually, I mean, look, it was a great play he made.”
“I’m happy he’s got the ball,” Brady said. “I wish I didn’t throw it, but I’m trying to be a good sport. Because a lot of times I’m not a good sport. I can be a pretty bad sport. In the moment when they get me in the right frame of mind, I’m actually a good sport.”
The play happened with 9:50 to go in the third quarter on a pass intended for Mike Evans that Greenlaw leaped up and tipped to himself.
It was just the third career interception for Greenlaw, a fifth-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2019, who led the Niners with 15 tackles Sunday.
Greenlaw was shown on the Fox broadcast after the game talking to Brady as he was signing the ball, and the pair shook hands.
“I went like a little fangirl,” Greenlaw told reporters after the game. “I tried to soothe him up, make him feel better. ‘Man, yeah, you’re the greatest ever,’ all that good stuff. But he is, he is.”
Brady, known for being a fierce competitor and admittedly a “bad sport” — he didn’t shake quarterback Nick Foles‘ hand after the New England Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII and after the Chicago Bears defeated the Bucs in 2020 — revealed a softer side of himself.
Greenlaw added, “The worst thing he could tell me is no. I was always told if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.”
He told Brady, “I just want you to know, you’re the greatest ever. … I’ve been watching you since I was 2 years old, man.”
“He’s a good guy,” Greenlaw said. “That’s big-time. I appreciate him. He’s the greatest. He’s the GOAT, so I appreciate that.”
Linebacker Fred Warner received an autographed football from Brady as well.
Warner told Brady, “It’s an honor for us, man, just to play against you. Seriously.”
“I had to run up there with him just to make sure that Tom was going to sign them,” Warner said. “It was a cool moment. Tom — he’s a standup guy, seriously. He told us how much he respected our game at the end there, and that’s cool by him.”
It wasn’t the first time Brady has autographed game equipment for defensive players, nor was it the first time Brady autographed an intercepted ball.
Last year, he autographed a ball for Jets cornerback Brandin Echols, then a rookie and, like Brady, a sixth-round draft pick.
Brady also sent a signed jersey to Commanders defensive end Chase Young after the Bucs defeated Washington in the wild-card round of the 2020 playoffs, days after Young proclaimed to the media, “Tom Brady … I’m coming. I want Tom!”
Buccaneers’ Tom Brady a ‘good sport,’ signs INT ball for 49ers LB