Russell Gage thought Tom Brady’s recruitment call was a hoax

New Buccaneers receiver Russell Gage was taking out the trash on Monday when his phone rang – and to his surprise, it was Tom Brady.

“For a minute I thought it was a prank, someone was trying to prank me.” said Gage on Friday during its introductory press conference in Tampa.

When Brady called — on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering deadline — Gage was consulting with his agent about where to use his talents next.

“He was just telling me what they have here in Tampa Bay and that he wanted me to be a part of the fact that they have something very special coming up. To be honest, he didn’t have to say much. After that, he definitely had me hooked on it. … It was definitely special,” said Gage, who was unrelated to Brady, 44, before the call.

“I had just seen some fake news on social media, so my mind was kind of on fake news, and then when I got the call, it was like, ‘Okay.’ I’m in a state of shock, stuck between “OK, that’s unreal” and “That’s not funny!” I was just trying to work my way through it, and as we got going I was like, ‘Okay, this is serious,'” Gage recalled.

Former Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage has joined the Buccaneers
Former Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage signed with the Buccaneers
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Gage, 26, eventually signed with the Buccaneers in free agency after spending the last four years in Atlanta, where he caught 66 passes for 770 yards last season.

“I’ve had discussions with teams and offers and stuff like that, but this was just completely different. This was like no other. It was a great blessing. I was 3 years old when Tom Brady came into the NFL so heard from someone like that only saw the other day that he hasn’t retired and is now reaching out to me? It was unreal,” said the former LSU product.

Gage said he realized “probably midway” the call that the Brady Effect is indeed real and not some elaborate prank.

Previously, Gage faced Brady twice a year in the last two seasons. Most recently, he played against Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 13 and recorded a career-best 130 receiving yards.

Tom Brady announced this week that he is returning to Tampa Bay after retiring from the NFL last month
Tom Brady announced this week that he is returning to Tampa Bay after retiring from the NFL last month
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Brady announced this last Sunday he plans to return to Tampa Bay for his 23rd season – 40 days after claiming he was retiring.

It appears the quarterback has changed his mind due to “unfinished business,” according to his social media announcement.

It’s unclear what business Brady has to attend to, given that he led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title in his debut season in Tampa and an NFC South championship last season.

Brady, who turns 45 in August, led the NFL in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719) last season.

It’s still unclear if Brady’s longtime target tight end Rob Gronkowski will return for another season. Russell Gage thought Tom Brady’s recruitment call was a hoax


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