TAMPA, Fla. - It’s been a hectic few days for Dr. Byron Kennedy, a longtime Buccaneers fan and St. Pete native, who quickly became known across the country after people tuned in Sunday evening and watched him receive a very important ball from Mike Evans.
"It’s been overwhelming almost, non-stop phone calls, emails and interviews. It’s been pretty incredible," he described during an interview on Good Day Tampa Bay on Wednesday morning. "I grew up in St. Petersburg. I have a t-shirt from the last time they won the Super Bowl. I grew up watching the Bucs."
The country watched as the negotiations took place between Kennedy and the Bucs employee. It took some convincing before Kennedy would cave in, and hand the ball back.
"He was basically just saying, ‘Listen, what can we do to get that ball back?’ We went back-and-forth for a little while. I told him ‘no’ a couple of times because that’s the coolest thing I ever gotten," Kennedy recalled. "I wanted to take that football really badly, but he was basically saying, ‘Look, Tom Brady wants this football.’"
"What am I going to do? Say ‘no’ to Tom Brady? I can’t do that," he continued. "He deserved it."
At first, he had no idea of the football’s significance. Moments later, he learned it represented the 600th touchdown milestone by Tom Brady.
"Not immediately when I got the ball. I was just super excited to be getting a ball from Mike Evans at that point," Kennedy said. "It wasn’t until a couple of minutes later where I really realized that this was the touchdown ball. This was the big one that mattered."
If the team wasn’t so persistent, he said he would not have sold it. He would have kept it.
"If I would’ve taken the ball home. It’s not something I would’ve sold," Kennedy said. "It would’ve been in a display case I would’ve got and put it in a room in my house back home. I think I did the right thing."
For returning the football, the Buccaneers will give Kennedy two signed Brady jerseys, a helmet, another jersey autographed by Evans and Evans' game-worn cleats, a pair of season tickets for the remainder of the season, the 2022 season and a $1,000 credit to the official team store.
Kennedy also learned that Brady will give him a Bitcoin, a fact he learned while watching ESPN’s Monday Night Football simulcast.
"Yes, we are on a first-name basis now," Kennedy said while laughing. "That was the coolest thing that’s ever happened. That was amazing, on national Monday Night Football television. He partnered with this company, FTX, and they’re getting together to send me a Bitcoin."
But that’s not all, apparently.
"I actually saw something late last night, Gronkowski and Mojo Muhtadi…they’re actually sending me some different cryptocurrency," Kennedy added.