Byron Kennedy wasn’t supposed to receive Tom Brady’s 600th-touchdown football. He’s being rewarded handsomely for giving it back.
Sporting a Mike Evans jersey, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan was sitting in the front row of Sunday’s win over the Bears when Evans mistakenly handed him the ball from Brady’s milestone TD. Moments later, Kennedy was approached by a team staffer and agreed to hand it over.
Kennedy appeared on NFL Now on Monday and made it clear that he wasn’t looking for financial compensation for returning the coveted ball. But he did want something else.
“Maybe play a round of golf with Tom as a repayment?” Kennedy said. “I think that’d be pretty cool.”
The Bucs countered with a package that will pay off a bit longer. Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the team is giving Kennedy two signed jerseys and a helmet from Brady, a signed Evans jersey and his game cleats, $1,000 credit at the team store, and two season passes for the remainder of this season and 2022.
Not too bad for a ball that briefly and improbably ended up in Kennedy’s hands. After Evans caught Brady’s short pass and broke the plane for the score, he tossed the ball to the ground and flexed his arms before turning around to retrieve it. Giovani Bernard picked it up first but then handed it back to Evans, who then rushed to the stands and handed it to Kennedy.
Brady, of course, had just become the sole member of the 600-TD club.
“I don’t actually keep too many things,” a grateful Brady said after the game. “In that circumstance, I felt like that might be a good one to keep.”
Kennedy got a lot more for not keeping it.
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