FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 10th, 2020

TONY DUNGY ON TOM BRADY TO BUCS: “TOM IS SAYING THIS IS PERFECT FOR ME”; LUKE KUECHLY ON RETIREMENT — QUOTES FROM TODAY’S EPISODE OF LUNCH TALK LIVE WITH MIKE TIRICO ON NBCSN

 “They’ve got good receivers and they have a dynamic offense. All they kind of needed is that general to put it together. I can see where he’d be excited about this.Tony Dungy on why Tom Brady chose to sign with the Buccaneers

“It had nothing to do with changes in coaches or anything like that. I knew in my heart that I gave it everything I had and, at this point, it was time to move in a different direction.” – Luke Kuechly on his decision to retire after the 2019 season

“It’s a great opportunity when things get dialed back up…Somebody like (Rory) McIlroy has got to be looking at this as a great opportunity to pad his stats and his march into history.” – Paul Azinger on golf’s compacted fall schedule

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 10, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • NBC Football Night in America analyst Tony Dungy
    • Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly
    • NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya
    • GOLF Channel on NBC host and play-by-play announcer Dan Hicks and analyst Paul Azinger
    • NBC Sports Premier League analysts Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe

 

NBC Sports’ new daily sports talk show Lunch Talk Live focuses on the current state of the sports world and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, providing guests with a platform to discuss the state of sports, voice their personal stories, and detail how they are adapting their daily lives during this challenging time.

Following are highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Tony Dungy, a former Bucs coach who lives in Tampa, on Tampa Bay’s reaction to signing Tom Brady: “They are so excited and all they’re hoping is that we get this season rolling and get to play…The feeling is we’re going (to the playoffs). It’s just, ‘Who are we playing against in the Super Bowl?’…It is going to be a little change for me to have to start rooting for Tom now.”

Michele Tafoya on Brady signing with Tampa Bay: “This is not where I expected him to go. I think a lot of people were thinking the Chargers, maybe to the Bears, I even heard the Raiders at one point. But I think he’s probably going to be attracted number one by the wide receiver corps in Tampa Bay, but no less by Bruce Arians and then by Tom Moore, their offensive consultant.”

Dungy (responding to Tafoya): “I think you’re right, that is what has Tom Brady kind of comfortable in this situation. I went through this with Peyton (Manning) when he was changing teams. He wanted to stay in the AFC because he knew the AFC so well. He wanted to go to a team that had a chance to be, not only a playoff team, but a Super Bowl contender. So, you figure that’s what Tom is looking for…Tom is saying this is perfect for me, they’ve got good receivers and they have a dynamic offense. All they kind of needed is that general to put it together. I can see where he’d be excited about this.”

Dungy on Cam Newton and Jameis Winston: “I’m really surprised. They were the first picks in the draft. Talented guys…You would just think somebody is going to snatch these guys up. I think both of them are going to end up kind of doing what Ryan Tannehill did. They’re going to go somewhere, maybe be the backup quarterback, but by the end of the year I think they’re going to energize the franchise.”

Tafoya on the impact of sports during this time: “I’m glad (the NFL is) moving along and fingers crossed that we have some semblance of a season…Look, sports is a great distraction for America. For people to say it’s tone deaf or it’s insensitive to be covering sports right now or to replay these games, I think in a way it’s a service to people in America who are missing the Final Four, The Masters, everything we’ve been talking about.”

Luke Kuechly on his retirement: “As the season concluded, I really kind of sat back and thought about it…I couldn’t have asked for a better situation (in Carolina), but once the season ended, I just knew that I had given it everything I had. I was done at that point and it had nothing to do with changes in coaches or anything like that. I just think that I knew in my heart that I gave it everything I had and, at this point, it was time to move in a different direction…You have to make hard decisions in your life and I think this is one of the harder ones I’ve had to make, but hopefully I can find a way stay involved in football somehow.”

Kuechly on trying to replace football in his future: “I think it’s one of those things where I’m trying to explore all of my options at this point. I think when guys come in on Fridays and Saturdays and you talk to the production crew, you talk to guys like (Jason) Witten and guys that have played, like (Tony) Romo, and Ronde (Barber)…Those guys, you can tell that they played at a high level and they still have the ability to stay involved with the game. I think that part is something that’s attractive to me.”

Kuechly on Cam Newton: “Everything you look at, obviously New England’s in the conversation, the Chargers are in the conversation. If he gets back to being healthy, he’s still a dangerous threat…To me, once he gets everything back healthy, he’s going to be back to what he was before, and I think the competitive edge in him isn’t going to allow him to dip below that.”

Dan Hicks on the challenges facing golf’s eventual return: “When you talk about this compacted schedule that is coming up…I think the challenges are getting all of these people from around the world into these sites…I hope it gets back as soon as possible, but I think it’s going to be a real step-by-step, day-by-day process to see when these sports come back.”

Hicks on playing the U.S Open at Winged Foot in New York in September: “It is a great time to play golf in the northeast…The fall is sometimes the best time – I won’t say sometimes – all the time, at least for the members, to get out there and play the golf courses…The U.S Open in Winged Foot in September could be absolutely perfect as long as the weather cooperates.”

Paul Azinger on how players should be training in the near-term: “It’s kind of like a rain delay when you have the lead. Sometimes you have to just keep your mind ready to get started back in the game…These guys have to wait around, so I think they have to stay mentally involved, I believe they have to stay physically fit, which they will. I’d play as much golf as I could for fun, I wouldn’t be grinding and working on it.”

Azinger on the compacted schedule: “There’s a lot on the line for those guys…If somebody gets red hot in a schedule that’s that tight – somebody like Tiger (Woods) back in the Tiger era could have run the table in these types of events – maybe somebody can snap off a couple of majors. It’s a great opportunity when things get dialed back up…Somebody like (Rory) McIlroy has got to be looking at this as a great opportunity to pad his stats and his march into history.”

Robbie Mustoe on finishing the Premier League season: “I think nearly everybody wants the season to finish. Of course Liverpool fans will be desperate for it to finish, it’s been so long since they won the top-flight title in England…The virus will tell us how long we have to wait and there are some people that say this can’t wait forever…I of course would prefer the season to finish, but we just have to make sure it’s safe and appropriate to do so. ”

Robbie Earle: “The top-four spots all get Champions League places and there’s a real fight for that with some big clubs…And then you’ve got to think of these three teams at the bottom of the league that generally would go out and these three teams at the championship, the league below, that generally would come in…I had thought it had to be finished, we’ve got to get a result on this, but the more I hear about the virus…all of a sudden, football becomes very secondary to what’s going on in the outside world.”

–NBC SPORTS–