Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is considered a yardstick for all signal-callers in the NFL. With six Super Bowl trophies across his name in his 20 seasons in the NFL, Brady is considered the greatest of all time (GOAT). However, success did not come easy for Brady as he entered the NFL as an unheralded quarterback out of Michigan. Brady was taken 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, with six quarterbacks selected ahead of him -- Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger, and Spergon Wynn.

In his first year with the Patriots, Brady was the fourth quarterback on the depth chart, behind starter Drew Bledsoe, John Friesz, and Michael Bishop. Despite the odd, Brady won the backup job the following season and took over as the starter after Bledsoe suffered an injury in Week 2 against the New York Jets and the rest was history. Over the course of his tenure with the Patriots, Brady made it to nine Super Bowls, winning six. After two decades in New England, Brady signed a two-year deal worth $50 million with the Buccaneers in the offseason.

Brady underscores the importance of hard work

While the six quarterbacks selected ahead of Brady in 2000 are out of the NFL now, he remains on top of his game in his 21st season in the league and contention for another playoff run with the Buccaneers.

Earlier, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins declared that Brady had set a high bar for those who follow him. When asked by Jim Gray during his regular interview on Westwood One Radio on what advice he would give to young quarterbacks in the NFL, Brady replied: “I think you have to have a great ability to keep working an extra job.

Learn what you got going,” per transcript from the audio of the interview. Brady also underscored the importance of being surrounded by talented coaches and people who can help develop their game. “You got to be surrounded by talented people, coaches that help develop you,” Brady stressed. “You got to work hard at it. I think you got to understand what the things you need to improve on and work hard at those things every single day,” he added.

Brady is slated to solidify the Buccaneers’ playoff chances as they take on the Atlanta Falcons on the road on Sunday.

Bucs to play without key left tackle

Aside from top running back Ronald Jones II, the Buccaneers will play the Falcons without starting left tackle Donovan Smith, who was also placed on NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. In a statement, Smith said he had come into close contact with a family member who had tested positive for the virus. To stop the spread of the virus, Smith said he put himself in self-quarantine. Jones was also placed on the COVID-19 list days after undergoing a procedure to insert pins in his fractured pinkie. Meanwhile, the Bucs activated their three specialists -- punter Bradley Pinion, kicker Ryan Succop, and long-snapper Zach Triner -- into the 53-man roster off the reserve/COVID-19. As insurance, they also elevated kicker Greg Joseph and guard Ted Larsen against the practice squad. They also signed punter Dustin Colquitt and long-snapper Garrison Sanborn to the practice squad.