Rob Ninkovich doesn’t seem to like Tom Brady.
During Friday’s installment of “Keyshawn, JWill and Max” on ESPN, Ninkovich, a former Patriots linebacker who now serves as an NFL analyst with ESPN, said he texted the quarterback of the Buccaneers after his season-ending loss to the Cowboys in the wild card round, and didn’t get a warm response from Brady.
“Is Tom trying to win another Super Bowl or is he going home to hang out with the family?” Johnson asked, to which Ninkovich said that he didn’t know.
“I’ve been trying to look into that…I’ve been trying to get information on that and I’m not getting anywhere with it,” Ninkovich said, laughing. “And then I tried to be nice and, you know, call a friend and say, ‘Hey, great season. I hope you’re on the mend…you finished well, you still have it.’
“And he says, ‘Not according to your hard-hitting analysis.'” (The full quote can be heard here on the 7:44 mark.)
Ninkovich, who won two Super Bowls with Brady in nine seasons together in New England, seemed surprised by Brady’s message.
Jay Williams chimed in, adding: “That’s what I love about this job, we have personal relationships with a lot of guys and then when you try to be objective they get so hurt.”
After the team looked shocked and shared a laugh, Ninkovich added: “I was trying to be nice… Now I’m trying to remember, what did I say wrong?”
Max Kellerman also recalled when ninkovich said last January that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Brady retired after last season.
Brady briefly retired last February before changing his mind and announcing his return to the NFL 40 days later. Now, all eyes are on the seven-time Super Bowl champion once again following the conclusion of his 23rd NFL season.
Brady, who turns 46 in August, is a free agent for the second time in his career. During a recent episode of his Sirius XM “Let’s Go” podcast, Brady told co-host Jim Gray that he’s “take it one day at a time”.
Brady, who said in october that retirement is not in your future, it has been bound to the Raiders, Dolphins, Titans and 49ers.
Johnson went on to ask Ninkovich about Bill O’Brien’s return to New England as their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“I think [people in Boston] they are very excited because they have an opportunity,” said Ninkovich. “I like the move because number one, Billy O obviously has a great track record with quarterbacks and has experience as a head coach.”
The Patriots confirmed the signing of O’Brien Thursday after their offense struggled under Joe Judge and Matt Patricia in a dysfunctional season. New England missed the playoffs and finished 8-9, third in the AFC East.
O’Brien, 53, spent five seasons with Bill Belichick from 2007 to 2011, serving as offensive assistant, receivers coach, QB coach and OC.