There are few figures in the NFL more respected than Tom Brady; no legitimate news outlet would ever dispute that.

Why, therefore, do some of those same "legitimate news outlets'' choose to blatantly honor the pledge of the "respected'' GOAT?

The Cleveland Browns will be without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson for the rest of the season due to a serious shoulder injury. Therefore, somebody at CBS Sports reasons, the Browns should sign Brady.

“The addition of Brady would potentially make (the Browns) a Super Bowl contender,'' CBS asserts. "It will be interesting to see if the Browns reach out because if they do, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him at least contemplate taking the job.''

It wouldn't be surprising? How - given the retired Brady's own oft-repeated words that at age 46 he's done playing - can a "legitimate news outlet'' possibly come to that "not surprising'' conclusion?

Meanwhile, USA Today would like to create a connection between the Bengals, with starting quarterback Joe Burrow out for the year with a wrist injury, and seven-time Super Bowl champ Brady.

"Just last year he threw 25 scores and nine picks in Tampa Bay and if you’re a former star looking for one more chance at a title, playing with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins has to look pretty appealing,'' USA Today writes.

It does? The Bengals are 5-5 and in last place in the AFC North, with little chance of catching Baltimore. And while the "last year'' stats are true, they were ... last year. How long would it take for Brady, at his age and given the fact he hasn't played football in 10 months, to ramp up to his last-year level ... which by the way, given his standards, was not especially good?

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The Browns QB reality is Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Bengals reality is QB Jake Browning. The "legitimate news outlets'' reality is that Tom Brady has answered these questions, hundreds of times ... and has earned the right to be listened to.