Brady came under fire for what some fans deemed to be a dirty tackle attempt on the Dallas defensive back in the third quarter of the Buccaneers‘ 31–14 loss. As Hooker attempted to return a Chris Godwin fumble, the Tampa quarterback appeared to slide at the safety’s legs to bring him down.
Though Brady did not complete the tackle and the fumble call was eventually overturned, the league issued the seven-time Super Bowl champion a $16,444 fine for unnecessary roughness, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Brady spoke about the incident for the first time with Jim Gray on his Let’s Go! podcast episode released Monday. The Buccaneers signal-caller expressed his frustration about the punishment, pointing out he didn’t make contact with Hooker on his slide-tackle attempt.
"I tried to tackle him with my right shoulder and missed him. And I wasn't going to try to stick my arm out, so I was trying to get him on the ground. I tried to get him on the ground and I missed him. Completely!" Brady said. "I didn't even hit him. I tried to trip him, but I didn't!
“So I don’t know how you can get fined for something that didn’t even happen. Are they finding an intention? It’s like targeting and you missed the person you hit and they still call it targeting. I gotta figure out and understand why this is the case. This is why I wish our NFLPA was stronger.”
Brady wasn’t the only Buccaneers player retroactively punished for his actions during Hooker’s return. Tampa center Ryan Jensen also was fined $8,333.33 for unnecessary roughness on the same play, per Rapoport.