Tom Brady 'Almost' Joined Raiders In 2020, Dana White Says

By Jason Hall

August 21, 2022

UFC 246: Holm v Pennington
Photo: Getty Images

UFC president Dana White revealed he helped broker a deal in which the Las Vegas Raiders would have acquired Tom Brady and eventually Rob Gronkowski during the offseason in which the two former New England Patriots stars eventually joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

White appeared alongside Gronkowski -- along with the recently retired tight end's brothers and father -- during the UFC with the Gronks broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+ for UFC 278 on Saturday (August 20) night and was coaxed by the four-time Super Bowl champion to tell the story of the potential deal, which White claimed was squashed by former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

"I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders," White said via ESPN. "It was almost a done deal. And at the last minute, Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn't want him and all hell broke loose, man. It was crazy.

"And Brady was already looking at houses. It wasn't said yet that Gronk was going to be coming. So Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl except Gruden blew the deal up."

Gruden resigned as the Raiders' head coach in October 2021 shortly after a New York Times report revealed that the coach used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails during a seven-year span beginning in 2011.

ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders planned to pursue Brady ahead of his free agency during the 2020 offseason, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion instead signed with the Buccaneers.

Gronkowski had previously retired in 2019 following his last Super Bowl victory as a member of the Patriots before coming out of retirement the following offseason and rejoining Brady -- his teammate for his entire career -- after being traded to the Buccaneers days later.

White claimed that the Raiders would've made a similar move to acquire Gronkowski had they signed Brady instead of the Buccaneers.

"I'm glad it did not go through," Gronkowski said via ESPN. "It all worked out for the best, man. I'm glad we went to Tampa, man. It just worked out. I love that place."

Brady and Gronkowski won their fourth Super Bowl as teammates during their first season with the Buccaneers, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium to become the first NFL franchise to win a Super Bowl at their home stadium.

Brady initially announced his retirement this past offseason only to announce his return for his 23rd season weeks later.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion has, however, been away from the Bucs since August 11 with head coach Todd Bowles describing the situation as Brady tending to "personal things" and not providing a confirmed return date.

Brady is the NFL's all-time passing leader for yards (84,520) and touchdowns (624), as well as quarterback wins (243), among numerous other records.

The San Mateo native spent his first 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, leading the franchise to an NFL record six Super Bowl championships (tied with the Steelers), before joining the Buccaneers as a free agent in March 2020, which resulted in Tampa Bay winning its second Super Bowl in franchise history, becoming the first NFL team to win a Super Bowl in its home stadium, in February 2021.

Gronkowski ranks third all-time among NFL tight ends in career touchdown receptions (92), fifth in receiving yards (9,286) and 10th in receptions (621).

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