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Brady, with wrapped hand, says he will play

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady says his heavily wrapped throwing hand is sore but he expects to play when the Buccaneers visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.

Brady injured his right hand in the first half of Tampa Bay’s 45-17 win over Miami on Sunday. He finished off his first career 400-yard, five-TD performance with a pair of scoring passes in the fourth quarter.

“It’s a little sore but I expected it to be,” Brady said Tuesday. “We signed up for a contact sport. You get different bumps and bruises throughout the year and we’ll just deal with it the best we can. This bump and bruise happens to be on my hand. Just trying to be preventive and precautious, be smart. It’s less than 48 hours since it happened so it’s not like it’s had five days, but again I feel confident I’ll be able to go out there and do what I need to do.”

The defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (4-1) are playing their third road game and fourth overall in 19 days.

Off to Germany

LONDON — The NFL selected the cities Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich on Tuesday to enter a final bidding stage to host a regular-season game in Germany.

Next season is the target for Germany to host its first game, though the NFL’s announcement didn’t specify 2022 or 2023. Germany has a strong and growing NFL fan base and one of the world’s largest economies, making the country a logical target for a league with visions of worldwide growth.

France, Spain and “the Nordics” are also in the league’s longer-term sights to host games, accordingto a report by the Associated Press last week.

Gosper also said that the first German game would be “certainly no later than ’23.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes during the NFL’s return to London after a one-year hiatus because of the pandemic. The Atlanta Falcons beat the New York Jets 27-20 on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which will also stage the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins this Sunday.

The NFL announced a bidding process in June.

The NFL urged German bidders to form a consortium between the region, the city and the stadium owner. The stadium is the key factor, along with infrastructure and ease of travel.

“As well as identifying a stadium that is fully capable of handling the logistics of an NFL game, we want to work with a host consortium that comprises local and regional government, stadium ownership, local stakeholders and potential commercial partners. We want this to be a long-term partnership,” Gosper said in the statement.

Tottenham’s state-of-the-art facility was custom-built to host soccer and NFL games with capacity of 62,850. There are seven years left on the club’s 10-year contract to host two NFL games annually.

The NFL has played 29 regular-season games in London since 2007 and the majority of them have been held at Wembley Stadium, which can hold more than 80,000 fans.

Germany has become a growing source of athletes for U.S. college football programs and had five teams at various times in the former World League/NFL Europe/NFL Europa. New England Patriots fullback Jakob Johnson is German, as is defensive end David Bada of the Washington Football Team.

After Germany, the league’s analysis has shown that France would be the next logical European host, followed by Spain and “the Nordics are very strong, too,” Gosper said last week. Those markets have high growth rates in viewership and fans, as the NFL tracks consumer figures for products like Game Pass and the video game Madden.

Thus far, the NFL has played 39 international regular-season games: 29 in London, six in Toronto, and four in Mexico City.

The NFL plans to return to a schedule of four international games beginning next season, a move facilitated by the expanded 17-game schedule.

The extra game coincides with the league’s offer to teams to seek specific international regions for exclusive marketing rights.

Even beyond those four international games, teams could volunteer to play home games abroad especially if they’ve been granted marketing rights in a foreign city or country.

NFL teams with existing links to foreign regions, for example, might be inclined to play more home games there, as Jacksonville has done in London. The Jaguars have played eight times at Wembley Stadium; Sunday will be their first game at Tottenham.

Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who also owns English second-division soccer club Fulham, made an offer to buy Wembley Stadium three years ago .

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