Ahead of their first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady declared something that can put shivers down the spine of their upcoming opponent and the rest of the NFL. "Yeah, I feel really good," Brady told reporters after Thursday’s practice, adding that it’s the first time in 14 years that he doesn’t have to wear a knee sleeve. After leading the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl title since 2002 via a 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the 44-year-old Brady underwent surgery to repair a torn MCL that bothered him most of last season.

“Like I said, physically feeling great, mentally in a good place,” Brady said when asked about his knee, per a report by Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com. “Physically I feel great, best I've felt really in a long time,” he continued, adding that “I feel I'm in a good place and I'm just going to keep working really hard."

Last season, Brady had a tough time learning the Buccaneers’ playbook because there was no training camp and the restrictions brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Now, Brady said he has a complete grasp of the offense that can help the Buccaneers duplicate the feat of the 2003-04 New England Patriots, the last team to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles. "A year ago, three weeks into camp I was still trying to figure out formations," Brady admitted.

Now, I just kind of rattle those off the tongue,” he added.

Brady excited to play Bengals

Earlier, head coach Bruce Arians said everyone will play when they take on the Bengals in their first preseason game on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. Brady welcomed the decision of his head coach, saying it would be the best way to "see where they are at" after their game against Cincinnati.

While it has yet to be known if he would stay on the field for a long time, Brady said he’s just waiting for the decision of his head coach. “If he wants to play, not play, or five plays, 20 plays whatever he wants to do, we’ll be ready to go,” he said, per the transcription of the YouTube video of his press conference. The Buccaneers will play the Tennessee Titans on Aug.

22 and the Houston Texans on Aug. 29 before they open their Super Bowl title defense against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 9.

Brady happy to see return of some teammates

The Buccaneers have signed all of their 22 starters back for this season, per Judy Battista of NFL.com, while some players who were injured last season have returned to practice. During his media conference, Brady expressed happiness about the return of some of his teammates on the field. "I'm just really excited to see what our team can become," said Brady, referring to the return of wide receiver Antonio Brown and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cam Brate to practice.