Retired linebacker Willie McGinest and quarterback Tom Brady were teammates from 2000 to 2005 with the New England Patriots and won three Super Bowl rings. In that period, Brady and McGinest became close, with the linebacker guiding the young quarterback who was taken No. 199 overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. In a previous interview, Brady said he’s lucky to have McGinest as a teammate as the linebacker helped him adjust to life in the NFL as a young player.

During an interview on The Rich Eisen Show, McGinest spoke about Brady, who will try to clinch his 10th Super Bowl appearance as he leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against a dangerous Green Bay Packers side in the NFC Championship.

For McGinest, this game won’t be about Brady’s personal records or his status as the greatest player in NFL history. “If you talk to Tom, it’s not about him and his accolades. He’ll turn this into a story to tell the kids somewhere,” McGinest said as he lauded Brady’s selflessness despite his enormous success, including six Super Bowl rings and countless NFL records.

Brady wants to be a role model

“Whatever the limitations people have put on you and whatever you’ve gone through, don’t ever let anybody dictate what you do in life and the goals and the heights you can reach,” added McGinest, as transcribed from the YouTube video of the interview. McGinest said this wasn’t about Brady wanting to become the best player ever, but the quarterback seeking to become a perfect example and inspiration to other people to persevere at a high level despite the challenges.

McGinest knows where Brady is coming from

McGinest said he knows where Brady is coming from, especially coming into the league the way he did. “Everybody knows he wasn’t a top draft choice. He battled to start in Michigan,” said McGinest. Brady’s experience pushed him “to persevere at a high level and maintain the consistency over the years and constantly prove the doubters wrong and do so many great things,” according to McGinest.

Despite earning numerous accolades, McGinest said Brady never forgets to praise and acknowledge and give all the praise to your teammates and Everybody else who helped him succeed. “It’s hard for athletes to do that with the egos and the individualism that goes on. It’s tough,” McGinest pointed out.

Brown out, Vea back

According to Scott Smith of, nose tackle Vita Vea will play on Sunday against the Packers.

The Buccaneers have activated Vea to the 53-man roster, making his improbable return from what was perceived to be a season-ending ankle injury. However, Luke Easterling of USA Today said the Buccaneers would have one less receiver when they take on the Packers as Antonio Brown was ruled out due to a knee injury. According to Easterling, Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is listed as questionable after being held out of Friday’s practice.