David Whitley: Who will replace Tom Brady? Florida Gator Kyle Trask not likely the next Buccaneers quarterback
Will he or won’t he retire? Only Tom Brady’s hairdresser and ESPN seem to know for sure.
The whole thing’s been a mystery since ESPN reported Saturday that Brady is hanging it up. Various sources deny that, but my sources say someone on Brady’s 12-member hairstyling team tipped off Adam Schefter, and that Brady will eventually announce he’s retiring to play catch with Zeus on Mount Olympus.
Which mere mortal will be Tampa Bay’s next starting quarterback?
My guess is it won’t be Kyle Trask, at least not anytime soon. The Bucs drafted him in the second round, but as the No. 3 QB he didn’t even suit up during the regular season.
Yeah, Patrick Mahomes played only one game his rookie season and was the league MVP the next year. Only the craziest Gator fan expects that out of Trask. If anything, this looks like a Gainesville déjà vu.
Trask sat his first two seasons and appeared destined to be a permanent backup. He got his chance when Feleipe Franks broke an ankle in 2019, and the rest is SEC passing history.
Super Bowl bound! Former Gator Evan McPherson kicks Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl
I’m not saying Trask will eventually make NFL passing history, but he might be ready to start in another year or two. For now, it’s hard to see the Bucs handing the roster over to a guy who’s never taken a real NFL snap.
Coach Bruce Arians said if Brady retires, he’s comfortable with journeyman Blaine Gabbert and Trask handling things. He added the Bucs would look behind “Door No. 2” to see who else is out there.
Among the names being thrown against the wall: Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Deshaun Watson, Ryan Tannehill, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Arch Manning and Chelsea Manning.
The best available Manning may be a stretch, but CBS Sports threw out Andrew Luck. He retired three years ago. Then again, he’s still 12 years younger than Brady, so why not?
Expect Tampa Bay’s next starter to come from behind Door No. 2, and Trask to move up the depth chart. If he’s not elevated to full-time backup, it will be a sign that the Bucs think he’s a bust.
It’s one thing to be groomed behind Tom Brady. It’d be something else if Trask isn’t even dressing out again next season.
Note to readers: Due to supposed misinformation that sometimes appears, Neil Young has prohibited me from using his name in this column until further notice. No word yet from Crosby, Stills or Nash.
Stud of the week: Evan McPherson, a rookie from UF who has been dressing out all season. As usual, he made the game-winning field goal and was four-for-four overall in Cincinnati’s playoff win over Kansas City.
Another Florida Gator: Jasmine Moore
Honorable mention: It didn’t quite as much attention as McPherson’s kick, but Florida’s Jasmine Moore, who set an NCAA record in the triple jump of 14.55 meters (47 feet, 75 inches) at an indoor meet at Clemson.
Dud of the Week: Brooks Koepka’s hair, which was dyed platinum blond in its 2022 PGA Tour debut at the Farmers Insurance Open. The style gods promptly had Koepka miss the cut.
Thud of the Week: That sound in your stomach when it’s hit by the Land, Air & Sea Sandwich, which went on sale Monday at McDonald’s. For a limited time, you can get the Big Mac, McChicken and Filet-O-Fish combination.
Jasmine Moore reportedly did not have one before making her NCAA-record jump. ...
A moment of silence, please, for Howard Hesseman, aka Dr. Johnny Fever from “WKRP in Cincinnati.” I don’t know if the Bengals said, “Let’s win one for Dr. Johnny,” but they should have. ...
ESPN identified 17 NBA players last week who have sponsorship deals with Chinese companies that use slave labor in the country’s Xinjiang region. None of the players would comment on the report. They were still too sore from kneeling during the national anthem.
The National Basketball Players Union had earlier put out a statement saying the union does not endorse the “commission of genocide or crimes against humanity.”
Whew. Glad they cleared that up. …
Update: ESPN is standing by its Tom Brady story but has clarified it say he is not retiring in order to spend more time with Urban Meyer’s family. ...
Congratulations to the SEC for winning the ninth annual Big 12/SEC Challenge over the weekend. With five teams in the NCAA Power Index top 20, you can make a case the SEC is the country’s best hoops conference.
In related news, the CDC just released a study that found 25% of Americans aren’t active enough to protect their health. The SEC had five states of the seven states with Couch Potato Indexes over 30%, by far the most of any Power Five conference.
I’m sure there’s a connection there, but I’m too lazy to try to think of it. ...
From Dr. Johnny Fever
Dr. Johnny Fever quote: “I’m telling you, free coffee is a constitutional right! Just look it up — Juan Valdez versus the state of California.”
That kind of misinformation is still worth fighting for.
This Just In: The NBA players union has released a statement saying it does not endorse drowning puppies. ...
That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. If you see me at the hair salon in the next week, please talk me out of dyeing my hair platinum blond.
David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley