Bruce Arians was seriously paranoid about a Tom Brady about-face

Even the victors of the Tom Brady free-agency sweepstakes didn’t believe he would leave New England until the ink was dry.

NFL insider Jay Glazer, who has a “very tight” relationship with Bruce Arians, described the the Buccaneers head coach’s paranoia that the six-time Super Bowl Champion would jilt them in the 11th-hour.

“Believe it or not, while everybody thought it was a done deal, [Arians] didn’t because Tom hadn’t signed,” Glazer told Colin Cowherd on FS1’s “The Herd” on Wednesday. “Like, it took him a couple days and he didn’t sign.

“At one point Bruce actually hit me up and said, ‘Do you think there’s a secret team here?’ Until someone signs — he’s been around football so long, paranoia is part of your DNA if you’re a head coach. He was like, ‘Is there another team?’ I was like, ‘You’re good, dude. I think you’re good.’ He was almost like, ‘It’s too good to be true.’”

Reports started leaking out on March 17 that Brady was headed to Tampa Bay, however he did not officially sign the contract until March 20.

Arians wasn’t the only one who feared a last-minute about-face. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht thought Brady might “resist the temptation to leave, sign back up with the only coach and program he has known for two decades, and ultimately retire a one-uniform icon,” according to ESPN’s Ian O’Connor.

“Oh, definitely,” Licht told O’Connor. “I had thought that several times.”

In spite of the paranoia, both Arians and Licht thought Brady would join the Buccaneers based on their very first phone call, Glazer reported.

Brady told Howard Stern on Wednesday that he had actually decided to end his 20-year marriage with New England long before the free-agency hullaballoo began.

“I don’t think there was a final, final decision until it happened, but I would say I probably knew before the start of last season that it was my last year,” Brady said on Wednesday during a two-hour interview on SiriusXM. “I knew it was just our time, our time was coming to an end.”

The decision to leave the Patriots weighed heavily on the 42-year-old, who describes himself as “a very emotional person.”

“I never cared about legacy, I could give a s–t about that,” he said. “I believe I could help any organization and that’s why I signed up and continued to play.”

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