In New England, Tom Brady had Julian Edelman, a wide receiver with whom he practically forged a psychic connection over their 10 seasons together on a football field.
Now Brady will seek to establish a similar rapport in Tampa, a feat complicated by limitations placed on everyone by the coronavirus. After signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady wasted no time in trying to get to know one of his targets, wide receiver Chris Godwin, via FaceTime.
“Really it’s literally just getting to know each other,” Godwin told Ros Gold-Onwude of The Boardroom. “Just early introductory things. Just trying to get a feel for who we are as people more than anything else. We didn’t talk ball or anything; really just about how excited we both are to play with each other.”
That’s in line with what reportedly was Brady’s sole request after signing with Tampa Bay: obtaining the contact information for each of his new teammates.
“For me, I’m just going to learn,” Godwin said. “You know, learn as much as I can from somebody who’s arguably the G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time], and I’m just ready to roll.”
Godwin brings to the relationship a strong 2019 season in which he caught 86 passes for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns. He got off on the right foot with Brady, offering up his No. 12 to the quarterback. It’s a number the receiver has had since high school.
“Honestly I wish there was [another significant number], like I wish I had a second or third go-to, you know, to kind of fall back on,” Godwin said. “But really, the only number that’s had any significance to me has always just been 12. So, whatever number I would go to would just be something completely different. But it’s cool, though.”
Brady and Edelman had a relationship that was almost telepathic. They spent time together in the offseason, whether socializing or working on their football timing. “I trust him so much,” Brady said in January 2019. “We put in so many hours together in the meeting room, in the film room. … He’s always kind of been like my little brother, in a good way. He knows how much I love him. What he’s done with his career has been incredible.”
Brady, 42, and Edelman are nine years apart in age. It’ll be different with Mike Evans, who will turn 27 this summer, and Godwin, who was 4 when Brady entered the league. Godwin acknowledged that it was “a little weird.”
“I feel like it’s someone I’ve watched my entire life,” Godwin said. “He’s my colleague now, so past the initial interaction it’s like: ‘All right, cool. This is starting to feel a little more normal now.’ “