Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said he contracted Covid in February shortly after the team’s Super Bowl 55 parade.
Brady, who has since been vaccinated, confirmed he was sick over the winter in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
The superstar quarterback said the upcoming season will be “challenging” in the backdrop of the delta variant and Covid’s continued spread.
“I actually think it’s going to play more of a factor this year than last year, just because of the way what we’re doing now and what the stadium is going to look like and what the travel is going to look like and the people in the building and the fans,” he said.
While his team his 100 percent vaccinated, Brady said he anticipates some players contracting the virus nonetheless, especially because vaccinated players will have fewer movement restrictions than last year.
“It’s not like last year, although we’re getting tested like last year. It’s going to be, I definitely think guys are going to be out at different points and we’ve just got to deal with it,” he said.
Brady led the Buccaneers to become the 2021 Super Bowl champions during his first season playing for the team. The season was heavily restricted by the pandemic, as games were played with no or limited audience, and many games had to be rescheduled after players and staff tested positive.
Recently, the NFL Players Associated and the NFL came to an agreement to increase testing for vaccinated players as they prepare for a new season amid the delta variant.
Vaccinated players will be required to be tested at least once every seven days, and have the option for more testing if desired, according to ESPN.
93 percent of players currently training for the upcoming season had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Unvaccinated players will have to wear masks indoors, but won’t have to wear them outdoors, ESPN reported.
Ben Kesslen is a reporter for NBC News.