13-year NFL veteran tight end Kyle Brady never had the glowing resume of his namesake and New England Patriots great Tom Brady.
Kyle Brady’s name is also forever linked to Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, a defensive menace New York Jets fans felt the team should’ve drafted in 1995.
Instead, they would up with Brady, an All-American tight end who never lived up to his billing as that draft’s ninth overall selection.
Worse, Brady’s selection was one of the reasons why the Jets spiraled down the league standings in the next two years.
Fortunately, Brady enjoyed a decent stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1999 to 2006.
While Kyle Brady never became a Pro Bowler, he was a durable veteran tight end with excellent blocking prowess.
Playing for tough coaches such as Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin, and Bill Belichick definitely served Brady well for life after football.
Kyle James Brady was born in Camp Hill, PA on January 14, 1972.
Brady hailed from a military family – his father was assigned to the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He used to jump out of airplanes and pored over books about military history.
He and Kyle used to make model airplanes when he was growing up. They built the German Messerschmitt, the British Spitfire, and the P-51 Mustang.
When Kyle played with those model airplanes, he developed a passion for flying that carried on into adulthood.
On the other hand, his brother was a green beret in the Army Special Forces, per GoPSUSports.com’s Kevin Fiorenzo.
Brady grew up following Penn State Nittany Lions football.
When Brady was growing up in the Harrisburg, PA area, it became clear to him that it was a city with a huge Penn State following.
He began reading the local Sunday newspaper when he was around seven or eight years old. The paper featured a sports section that recapped Penn State’s game the day before.
Brady also watched a recap of the game on television on Sundays. He became enamored with Joe Paterno’s team during their glory years in the 1980s. The Nittany Lions won the national title in 1982 and 1986.
Kyle Brady attended Cedar Cliff High School in Camp Hill, PA.
Brady starred in football, basketball, and baseball for the Cedar Cliff Colts.
He earned First-Team All-USA status from USA TODAY and All-American status from Parade Magazine as a senior.
Brady also became the Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year and received the prestigious Bobby Dodd Award.
When it was time to decide which college to attend, Brady remained noncommittal to Penn State.
He told Fiorenzo he considered other good football programs that made tight ends a focal point of the offense.
One of those programs was the Miami Hurricanes – a team that won three national titles in the 1980s.
While going to South Florida was an appealing opportunity, Brady remained in-state and committed to the Nittany Lions.
When Paterno visited the Brady family, he looked Kyle’s parents straight in the eye and guaranteed their son would get a college degree.
For his part, Kyle Brady knew right away the Penn State football program placed a high premium on academics.
The Nittany Lions also needed a tight end when Brady was about to break into the college ranks.
He also loved the lure of playing in front of thousands in a true college town that was just 90 miles from Harrisburg.
The proximity also made it easier for Brady’s parents to watch him play every Saturday.
With that, Kyle Brady was about to represent one of the most storied college football programs in the nation.
College Days With The Penn State Nittany Lions
Kyle Brady attended Penn State University from 1991 to 1994. He majored in exercise and sports science.
When Brady was a true freshman in 1991, Nittany Lions head football coach Joe Paterno wanted him and his teammates to have a true college experience.
Paterno did that by putting the players in dorms so they could become part of the regular student body.
“He wanted us to intermingle and experience true college life, not be isolated in a small part of the campus,” Brady told GoPSUSports.com some thirty years later. “He wanted us to have a true holistic experience in college – educationally, socially, and athletically.”
The man who promised Brady’s parents he would get his bachelor’s degree also wanted him to experience college life to the hilt.
An assortment of injuries limited Brady’s production in his junior season in 1993.
Brady’s frustration that year eventually reached a boiling point. He told Fiorenzo he took some time off to reassess his situation and clear his mind.
For his part, Paterno challenged Brady in practice and made him realize he had reached a turning point in his gridiron career: he could either reach his full potential or continue to deteriorate.
Brady chose the former.
He decided to go the extra mile in his studies and football training. Brady felt that pivotal moment helped prepare him for life after college.
Kyle Brady praised Joe Paterno for that gesture many years after the former retired from the National Football League.
Brady’s favorite football memory at Penn State was the Nittany Lions’ memorable 1994 NCAA campaign.
That team featured quarterback Kerry Collins and running backs Ki-Jana Carter and Brian Mine. The three players accounted for 52 touchdowns that year.
The 1994 Nittany Lions were a high-octane squad that averaged a gaudy 47 points per game. They finished with an immaculate 12-0 win-loss record and beat the Oregon Ducks in the 1995 Rose Bowl, 38-20.
In terms of Brady’s best non-football memory in college, he cherished the relationships he made during his time in Happy Valley, per Fiorenzo.
During Kyle Brady’s time at PSU from 1991 to 1994, the Nittany Lions won an impressive forty of forty-nine games.
He had 940 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches on 76 receptions in forty-five games for Penn State during that stretch.
Brady was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a 1994 consensus All-American.
Despite Kyle Brady’s impressive college football credentials, fans would forever link his name to one of the NFL’s all-time greatest defensive players once he broke into the pro ranks in 1995.
Pro Football Career
The New York Jets made Kyle Brady the ninth overall selection of the 1995 NFL Draft.
Jets director of player administration Pat Kirwan thought the world of Brady.
“A Mark Bavaro kind of player and whistle-clean,” he told ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
Brady’s selection infuriated Jets fans who wanted the team to draft Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
Sapp earned seven Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and enjoyed a successful 13-year pro football career.
He also became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the summer of 2013.
As for Kyle Brady, his 13-year NFL career hardly resembled Sapp’s. While the former enjoyed a lengthy pro football career, he hardly had any accolades to show for it.
Long story short, Brady had a decent pro football career.
When Sapp’s dossier revealed a positive drug test, the Jets promptly removed him from their draft board, per Cimini.
They took a chance on Brady, the All-American tight end from Penn State.
April 22, 1995: The Jets pass on Warren Sapp & select Penn State TE Kyle Brady with the 9th overall pick in the #NFLDraft.
Jets fans go ballistic (🎥 via NFL Films) pic.twitter.com/cALeBM7AyU
— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) April 22, 2021
That decision propelled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens to one Super Bowl title each in the next eight years.
On the other hand, the Jets languished in the league’s cellar for the next two seasons: they won just four of twenty-eight games during that stretch.
Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason told ESPN in 1995 the Jets fallout was mainly due to the inept decision-making of their head coach, Rich Kotite.
It turned out Brady turned down the Jets’ invitation for a pre-draft visit because he thought they wouldn’t select him.
Nonetheless, New York still considered Brady a game changer and franchise player.
Had the Jets plucked somebody else from the draft pool, the Cleveland Browns were ready to select Brady.
According to Cimini, Brady held a private workout for the Browns at the Penn State campus several days before the draft.
Browns head coach Bill Belichick – who became Brady’s head coach with the New England Patriots in the 2007 NFL season – called up the school to inquire about his shoe and helmet sizes.
It was a sure sign Brady was high on Cleveland’s draft radar. Unfortunately, he never played a single down for the Browns.
Here is Mel Kiper Jr. breaking down the selection of Jets TE Kyle Brady in the 1995 NFL Draft.
LOOK AT THOSE SHOULDER PADS! pic.twitter.com/0A0ZpBR94D
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) May 25, 2021
Brady thought he’d wind up in Northeast Ohio all along. He was as perplexed as the Jets fans in attendance were.
“I admit, I was as mystified as the fans were,” he told Cimini.
The Browns grew so disenchanted with the Jets’ selection of Brady that they traded down with the San Francisco 49ers for the 30th overall selection.
Cleveland wound up with three more draft picks. One of those was a first-round selection in 1996.
Ironically, when Kyle Brady was a New York Jets rookie in 1995, they never had a tight ends coach on their staff.
If Brady needed advice, he reached out to one of his old Penn State coaches, per ESPN.
Brady had just 396 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions in his first two pro football seasons as the Jets reached rock bottom.
The New York media lambasted Brady and labeled him a bust.
Brady admitted to ESPN in 2015 the criticism stung:
“It hurt. I was called a draft bust and ridiculed as one of the reasons the Jets couldn’t get out of their doldrums.”
“My response to the criticism was to press and try harder. When you press, you play worse. It was a spiral.”
He even invited members of the local press to the practice field and dared them to catch passes from him.
Brady threw fastballs their way, proving catching a football isn’t as easy as it looks.
When the legendary Bill Parcells took over as Jets head coach in 1997, Kyle Brady had the mentor he desperately needed.
“His mentoring was transformational,” Brady told ESPN. “He saw the look in my eyes and he said, ‘Brady, you need to relax.'”
That was what Kyle Brady did when Parcells took over. He even became a locker room jokester who regularly impersonated “The Big Tuna” and Kotite.
The Jets turned their fortunes around with Parcells calling the shots.
New York won a combined twenty-one games over the next two years. Unfortunately, they lost to a Denver Broncos juggernaut in the 1998 AFC Championship Game.
When Brady became a free agent after the 1998 NFL season, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and spent the next eight years of his pro football career with the team.
He and his family would call Jacksonville home to this very day.
Brady made it to the AFC title game for the second straight year in 1999 as a member of the 14-2 Jaguars.
Regrettably, Jacksonville lost to Steve McNair‘s Tennessee Titans, 33-14.
Brady enjoyed his finest pro football season in 2000. He had 729 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 64 receptions that year.
The Jaguars barely averaged seven wins per year and missed the postseason for the next five years.
When Jacksonville rose from the ashes in the 2005 NFL campaign with a gaudy 12-4 win-loss record, thirty-three-year-old Kyle Brady was already in decline.
He had just 157 receiving yards and a solitary touchdown catch in sixteen games that year.
Jacksonville regressed in 2006 and won just eight games. It turned out to be Brady’s final year as a Jaguars player.
During Brady’s playing days with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he regularly drove to the team facility that was located next to a small airport.
Brady grew accustomed to the sight of airplanes hovering above his car whenever he was at the nearby stoplight.
He eventually took a few pilot lessons which he didn’t like at first.
“I was kind of fearful, didn’t understand aerodynamics and the laws or principles that govern flying,” he admitted to Fiorenzo in 2021. “But I stuck with it long enough to get my license and after awhile I did start to really enjoy it.”
The New England Patriots signed Kyle Brady to a two-year deal on March 3, 2007.
The Pats needed depth at tight end with the departure of free agent Daniel Graham.
Brady, whom New England head coach Bill Belichick badly coveted when he was in Cleveland twelve years earlier, seemed to fit the bill.
Brady had 70 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in fourteen games for the Patriots.
Alas, the previously undefeated Patriots fell to Eli Manning’s upstart New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14.
Brady retired from the National Football League following the 2007 season.
— JagsFans.com (@JagsFans_com) January 14, 2014
Kyle Brady finished his 13-year NFL career with 3,519 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns on 343 receptions.
According to ESPN, Kyle Brady earned an estimated $30 million in his pro football career. He became the league’s highest-paid tight end at one point.
Brady knows all too well that Jets fans and the New York media still label him as a colossal bust. He admitted to ESPN in 2015 he can’t do anything about it.
However, he knew in his heart that he was a decent player.
While Brady never became a Pro Bowler, he was a durable gridiron warrior who missed just nine games in a thirteen-year span. He also earned a reputation as a solid blocker.
Kyle Brady, his wife Kristin, and their three children Kellen, Brookie, and Blair reside in the Jacksonville, FL area.
“Being an NFL Tight End for 11 seasons is hard work, but not nearly as hard as being a great father every day." – Kyle Brady
— All Pro Dad (@AllProDad) May 24, 2014
The Brady family has lived in Jacksonville since Kyle’s playing days with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His wife’s family also lives in the area.
As of 2021, Kyle Brady has lived in Jacksonville for twenty-one years. He also told GoPSUSports.com he’s lived in the same house for the past seventeen years.
Brady dabbled in sports media after he hung up his cleats. He served as an analyst for NFL Europe and The Big Ten Network after his last pro football season in 2007.
While broadcasting gave Brady a sense of fulfillment, he told Jacksonville.com’s Gene Frenette in 2013 that he considered it a temporary job.
Kyle Brady. He's not Warren Sapp, but he finished his career with 25 TDs and 3,500 yds in 13 seasons. Brady also became a licensed financial advisor to guide former NFL players on how to avoid financial pitfalls, along with real estate, securities and estate planning. pic.twitter.com/BP937YrH9P
— Matt Rybaltowski (@MattRybaltowski) January 20, 2022
Brady ventured into the financial services industry after he retired from the NFL in 2008. He told Fiorenzo that he became a certified financial planner who studied business planning, real estate planning, and taxation.
Brady eventually launched his own business called Summit View Capital Management. He currently owns a financing company known as Willow Falls, LLC.
Part of Brady’s financial aptitude is geared toward helping his fellow NFL players get their financial life in order.
He told Frenette that he’s aware many crooked financial advisors try to mislead pro football players nowadays. He feels bad whenever one of them becomes a willing prey to their advances.
Brady took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) when he was still playing professional football.
The LSAT has a five-year eligibility period. Brady realized law and finance go hand-in-hand so he decided to study law on a part-time basis at the Florida Coastal School of Law in 2010.
While the gridiron was physical drudgery, Brady compared law school to mental drudgery, per Frenette. Memorizing and analyzing cases became second nature to law students.
Brady played for tough and demanding coaches such as Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin, and Bill Belichick in his 13-year NFL football career.
If he made it through training camp with those coaches, he knew he could handle the mental demands of law school.
Kyle Brady became a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame on May 14, 2010.
Brady endowed a $50,000 scholarship to the Penn State football program in March 2021.
Brady told Fiorenzo the endowment stems from his appreciation for the life lessons he learned during his stay in Happy Valley. He also wants future scholars to reap the benefits of those important life lessons.
While it’s challenging to visit the PSU campus because of Brady’s professional and family life, he tries to attend one home game every year, per GOPSUSports.com.
Several years after Brady earned his pilot’s license, he earned additional certifications so he could take his family around the Southeast area of the country.
Brady regularly flies to Asheville, NC on his four-seat Cirrus plane, per Cimini.
Kyle Brady is a talented cook. He told PennLive.com’s Sue Gleiter in 2019 that he likes to grill seafood, vegetables, and meat and cook breakfast omelets and pancakes on weekends.
Brady also likes cooking German cuisine. He wants to learn more about Thai dishes, per Gleiter.