Video: Bucs complete swap with Byron Kennedy for Tom Brady ball

Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay Times
Byron Kennedy, 29, of St. Petersburg shows off some of the memorabilia he received from the Bucs for returning the ball Tom Brady used to throw his 600th career touchdown pass. [ RACHEL WEST | Times ]

The trade has been completed between the Bucs and Byron Kennedy.

If you didn’t know who Kennedy was a week ago, chances are you do now. The 29-year-old St. Petersburg native became the Bucs’ most famous fan after one brief negotiation.

Kennedy was thrust into the spotlight when wide receiver Mike Evans handed him a ball he caught from Tom Brady for a touchdown in the Bucs’ 38-3 win over the Chicago Bears on Oct. 24. Evans didn’t realize at the time that it was Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass, making him the only quarterback in NFL history to reach that milestone.

After a brief conversation with a team official, Kennedy agreed to return the ball to Brady, who Kennedy calls the rightful owner. In exchange, the team promised the lifelong fan enough memorabilia to make the trade worthwhile.

Monday afternoon, the Bucs completed the deal when they presented Kennedy with a large collection of team swag.

Kennedy left the Bucs’ training facility with a cardboard box containing two signed Brady jerseys — one for him and one for his friend Riley Carvalis, who had brought Kennedy to the game — a signed game-worn Evans jersey, a pair of signed game-worn Evans cleats and a Brady-signed helmet.

In addition, the Bucs gave Kennedy two season tickets for the rest of this season and all of next season located just one section over from the front-row seat he occupied during the game against the Bears.

An appreciative Brady threw in a Bitcoin currently valued at $63,000, while tight end Rob Gronkowski and WWE Superstar Mojo Rawley added to the haul with some additional cryptocurrency worth around $30,000.

“I didn’t expect it to happen,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think anything this cool is ever going to happen to me again.”

All of the items Kennedy received Monday were in addition to a game-used ball and $1,000 gift card to the team store the Bucs gave him at the game.

Sports fans across the country have been weighing in ever since on what they would have done had they been in Kennedy’s place: return the historic ball in exchange for the items he received or keep it and sell it for a potentially life-changing sum.

Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions, indicated via Twitter that the ball could go for $500,000. Other experts suggested it could easily sell in the neighborhood of a million dollars. Even so, Kennedy said he has zero regrets about his decision.

“I have everything that I need right now,” he said. “I don’t have everything I want, but that’s okay. (The memorabilia haul) is a lot of the things I wanted, so this makes up for it.”

But that doesn’t mean Kennedy hasn’t taken a second to stop and think what he could’ve done with $500,000 or more.

“I would’ve bought a boat. I’m buying a house right now, so I would’ve been able to buy the house,” he said. “It would’ve been cool, but we’re doing okay.”

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Comments / 8

Sam Sneed

Money is better than memorabilia. If multimillionaire TB12 wanted his 600th TD ball so much, both he and Evans (for giving it away) could have split the cost to retrieve it... the cost being the estimated market rate which was allegedly $500K.


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