ampa Bay Buccaneers NFL football quarterback Tom Brady waves to fans as he celebrates their Super Bowl 55 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs with a boat parade in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. Credit: Phelan Ebenhack / AP

TAMPA, Fla. — The Bucs are 100 percent vaccinated, and yes, that means quarterback Tom Brady.

In fact, Brady confirmed he had COVID-19 in February, shortly after the Super Bowl 55 championship boat parade.

But while vaccinated, the Bucs aren’t totally immune to the virus or the results of the looser protocols in the NFL.

This year, vaccinated players are permitted to leave their hotels on the road and visit with family.

Four Bucs players already have gone on the reserve/COVID-19 list: kicker Ryan Succop, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and offensive linemen Nick Leverett and Earl Watford.

Before they could win the Super Bowl, the Bucs had to beat the virus. Teams battling COVID-19 was among the topics Brady discussed one-on-one with me. He thinks it will be a bigger story in 2021.

“You guys beat COVID last year. It’s still around. You’ve had it?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” Brady said.

“And I think it’s going to be challenging this year,” he continued. “I actually think it’s going to play more of a factor this year than last year, just because of the way what we’re doing now and what the stadium is going to look like and what the travel is going to look like and the people in the building and the fans.

“It’s not like last year, although we’re getting tested like last year. It’s going to be, I definitely think guys are going to be out at different points and we’ve just got to deal with it.”

Among the last players to get vaccinated was running back Leonard Fournette. Of course, it’s still a personal choice and Brady hasn’t been walking around sticking shoulders.

But when the quarterback who helped put a Super Bowl ring on your finger has had COVID-19 and is vaccinated, it may be a good idea to fall in line behind him.

The Bucs only had two real incidents of COVID-19 that cost players games last season. Ronald Jones missed games against Atlanta and Detroit, while Devin White was out for the season finale against Atlanta and the first playoff game at Washington.

Furthermore, coach Bruce Arians is there to enforce all the protocols. In many ways, that was one of Arians’ biggest contributions.

“He did an unbelievable job keeping this thing together during COVID,” quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said. “He didn’t compromise, and it ended up being one of the huge advantages because we didn’t have any dips because of COVID, largely because of him. He had zero tolerance for cutting corners on the COVID protocol.

“He dog-cussed them. If he thought there was any slack whatsoever in us taking that thing for granted or letting down our guard, he snapped the team back to attention.”

Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times