Kyle Rudolph played one season with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but he’s cemented in the legendary quarterback’s legacy for the rest of his life.
The tight end was the last player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Brady. He caught an 8-yard pass from Brady in the first quarter of Tampa Bay’s 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 8.
Rudolph talked about the moment in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom” with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino.
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“You know it was just incredible being able to go to work with him every day,” Rudolph said. “Certainly, when I came down here this season, I had hoped to catch a lot more than just one touchdown pass from Tom. But to be able to have his last regular-season touchdown pass, to just be a part of the 1/99th of the guys he threw touchdown passes to throughout his career, it’s pretty special.
“Just being able to see him go to work every day, to see the way he prepares, even for somebody like myself being in the league for 12 years, I was able to learn so much from him and the way that he approaches the game and daily life in general. It’s been an absolute honor for me. Even though things may have not gone the way we planned this year, just to say I got to play with him and see him go to work was incredible.”
When asked whether he thought Brady would keep playing if the Buccaneers were more successful, Rudolph said he thought the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback retired just how he wanted to and didn’t think the result of the 2022 season played a factor.
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“It’s hard to say. I think you can look at it in a myriad of ways – whether we would’ve gone on and won the Super Bowl does he ride off into the sunset, it’s just time,” he said. “Twenty-three years is a long time. I think you really see it in the message that he posted on social media. That’s just how he wanted to do it – on a beach, his kids are close by and he wants to be around his family.
“He truly is the greatest that’s ever played our game. He kinda goes beyond a generational talent because he is one of a kind. It doesn’t matter what generation of football you look at. He’s the best ever and no one would ever question that. I think you see it in his message. He gave everything he had to this game. I was just fortunate to be able to see that.”
Brady made the announcement early Wednesday morning.
“Good morning, guys. I’ll get to the point right away,” Brady said in the video. “I’m retiring for good. I know the process was a pretty big deal last time. So, when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first so. I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.
“I really thank you guys so much to everyone single one of you for supporting me. My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors… I can go on forever. There’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream.
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“I wouldn’t change a thing.”