Tom Brady praised Robert Hainsey but underlined the third overall pick from the 2021 has to go out and earn to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starting center. The Buccaneers suffered a major blow at the start of training camp when Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen sustained a serious knee injury.
Jensen is expected to be out for months, probably the entire season. "I don't know the severity of it per se, but I do know he will miss some significant time, up to a couple of months," Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said, per The Athletic.
"Whether he'll be back later in the season, November or December, that depends on what they find in the knee, but he won't be available anytime soon."
Brady on Hainsey replacing the injured Jensen
Hainsey, who was selected by the Buccaneers in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft, played in nine games last season.
However, in none of those nine games Hainsy was a starter. "He's worked really hard," Brady said of Hainsey, per CBS Sports. "Obviously everyone's heartbroken with what happened to Ryan, so that will take a little time, but [Hainsey's] gotta ya know, step into the job and do a great job.
He's worked hard last year, really gained the trust of a lot of people, and he's got to go earn it." Brady wants Hainsey, and the rest of the team, committed to hard work throughout the entire season. "So like all of us, it's not what you did, how hard you worked in the offseason, it's how good of a football player are you.
It's to be determined for all of us," Brady said. Brady initially retired after the Buccaneers' season ended but announced he was unretiring just before the start of free agency. The Buccaneers didn't win the Super Bowl last season and Brady said he unretired because he felt he had "unfinished business" with the team.