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Bucs talking contract extension for Brady

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are open to giving Tom Brady a contract extension.

General manager Jason Licht reiterated Wednesday that the Super Bowl champions would like to keep the 43-year-old quarterback in uniform for as long as Brady wants to play. Licht declined to characterize any conversations the team’s had about that prospect.

“We don’t typically talk about those discussions publicly,” Licht said during a video conference call in which he and coach Bruce Arians discussed free agency and efforts to retain several potential free agents instrumental to the team’s championship run.

“Bruce and I both have a great relationship with Tom. I have a good relationship with his agents. We thought Tom played incredibly well this year, along with the entire team, and we would love to have Tom play here — and I can speak for Bruce, I think — as long as he continues to want to play,” the GM added. “If that comes to fruition at some point, then we’d be elated. But I’d like to keep those conversations private that we have right now.”

Despite not having normal offseason workouts and preseason games to prepare for his first season in Tampa Bay, Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns to lead the Bucs to their first playoff appearance since 2007.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion signed a two-year, $50 million contract in free agency last March following a historic 20-season stint with the New England Patriots. He’ll turn 44 in August and has said he’s liked to play until he’s at least 45.

Technology staying

One of the major benefits of playing a full season pretty much on schedule during a pandemic is what the NFL learned technologically from 2020.

Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league has found new avenues of communication that will be common in future seasons.

“Virtual meetings have now become standard in the NFL; we are not going to have as much (in-person) meetings when we get back,” Goodell said Wednesday at the NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum. “I think technology is something we have embraced and will make us better.”

The previous standard before the COVID-19 pandemic was hour upon hour of meetings at team facilities, whether involving the entire roster in an auditorium or breaking into smaller groups on offense, defense, special teams or by specific positions. While in-person gatherings won’t entirely disappear, the NFL found the ability to meet virtually is a positive development.

Ex-players helping out

NEW YORK — Former NFL players Chris Long, Harry Sydney and Twan Russell have been awarded funding for their nonprofit foundations through the league’s Legends Impact Grant program.

Created in 2018, the award is a component of the NFL Foundation’s Player Foundation Grant initiative and supports ex-players in their commitment to making their communities “healthy, happy and safe.”

Examples include the Russell Education Foundation which will receive $50,000.

Founded in 1998, REF’s goal is closing the achievement gap for low-income students in South Florida through afterschool and summer learning services.

My Brother’s Keeper, created by Sydney in 2003, is a male mentoring program in Green Bay, Wisconsin dedicated to assisting individuals as they deal with hardships. It will receive $40,000.

The mission of the Chris Long Foundation, which is receiving $30,000, is to support bright futures for communities and individuals by promoting international and domestic programs focused on clean water, military appreciation, homelessness, and youth.

“NFL legends continue to positively impact their communities each and every day,” said Alexia Gallagher, NFL vice president of philanthropy and executive director of the NFL Foundation. “We are proud of their philanthropic endeavors and ongoing efforts to create meaningful change.”

The winners were selected by a panel of former players including Pro Football Hall of Famer Will Shields, NFL executive Troy Vincent, Warrick Dunn, Chad Pennington and Leonard Wheeler.

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