Days after he agreed to the request of New York Jets rookie cornerback Brandin Echols to sign an intercepted ball, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady finally spoke about it during his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray. When asked by Gray for details behind his decision to sign the ball that Echols intercepted just before halftime of their clash, the 44-year-old Brady said it was the first time that a player asked him to sign anything after the game. “That was the first time,” Brady said of his interaction with Echols after the game that the Buccaneers won, 28-24, with a help of a 9-play, 93-yard touchdown drive with less than three minutes left in the game.

“What a nice guy. Young player, it’s actually kind of flattering,” said Brady, adding that it’s not often he signs an interception ball too. “I think that’s the first time,” said Brady, who was earlier lauded by Jets head coach Robert Saleh for agreeing to the rookie’s request to sign the ball. According to Saleh, Brady’s decision to sign the ball speaks volumes about him and his character.

Buccaneers to play all starters in Week 17

The Buccaneers will face the Carolina Panthers in their final regular-season assignment on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers are assured of a home game in the first round of the playoffs regardless of what happens in their game against the Panthers, but they cannot clinch a bye week.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was expected to rest all of his starters to ensure that they’re fresh in the playoffs, but he’s not planning to do so, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “You play to win. You play to get the second seed, that’s huge,” said Arians, adding that the Buccaneers won’t rest anybody.

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Grayson will play vs Jets

Wide receiver Cyril Grayson, who caught the game-winning 33-yard touchdown pass from Brady, will be part of the 53-man roster against the Panthers, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com. The Buccaneeers moved Grayson to the practice squad on Monday, but Arians assured that the wide receiver will be part of the line-up that will play the Panthers.

“Cyril will be out there," Arians said. The Buccaneers protected Grayson, running back Kenjon Barner, kicker Jose Borregales, and punter Sterling Hofrichter ahead of their clash with the Panthers.

Bucs activate Darden from COVID-19 list

Smith also reported that the Buccaneers have activated rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden from the reserve/COVID-19 list. With Darden out of the COVID-19 list, only punter Bradley Pinion is on the list. Last week, seven players were on the COVID-19 list, but they were all activated by the team.