When Tom Brady runs out of the visitors locker room on Sunday night in Foxborough, the memories of the past two decades will flood into our minds.
The greatest quarterback of his generation — and arguably the greatest of all time — returns to the place where it all began.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to New England to take on the Patriots Sunday night, and we’ll all be feeling the emotions of the moment.
Brady returns as his departure from New England and relationship with Bill Belichick have been in the news.
Ahead of the release of “It’s Better to be Feared,” a book written by Seth Wickersham that dives into the Patriots dynasty, and Brady’s subsequent departure to Tampa Bay in free agency after 20 years in a Patriots uniform, snippets of the book have been causing a stir.
In the book, Wickersham writes that Belichick refused to meet with Brady in person to conduct his exit interview, instead conducting it over the phone. It’s a claim that Belichick denies.
“No, that’s not true,” Belichick said Wednesday when asked if he declined to meet with Brady prior to his departure. “There are a few things about this book; it sounds like it’s a lot of second-, third- and fourth-hand comments. I’m not going to get into that. I’m going to focus on this game and try to prepare for the Bucs.”
Brady — not one to publicly criticize the Patriots organization — took the high road on Thursday, saying that his departure was “handled perfectly.”
“All those things are super personal,” Brady said in his weekly press conference on Thursday.
“We had a great relationship. Everything was handled the right way. We handled everything as gracefully as we could. It was an amazing time, it was handled perfectly. I think everyone understood where we were at — the people involved in the situation. Things worked out the best for all of us.”
Regardless of how Brady’s time in New England ended with the organization, he’s bound to get more than a warm greeting from the fans.
For nearly two decades, Brady led the most dominant dynasty in the history of the NFL.
When Brady took over under center in 2001 for the injured Drew Bledsoe, the Patriots went on a run never seen in sports.
Brady made 324 starts in his 20 seasons as a Patriot, won six Super Bowl rings, and was Super Bowl MVP four times.
We’ll more than likely never see two decades of such dominance again, and as Brady prepares for his homecoming, he appears to have only fond memories.
But don’t think for a second that Brady will be thinking about his time in New England when he takes the field Sunday.
“I’m just going to try to do what I always do: Go be a great quarterback,” Brady said. “Obviously, I understand the opponent. I know all those guys. They’re some of my great friends, [and] they will be for the rest of my life. I know a lot of coaches, players, the owners, the staff. It will be great to see everyone after the game, but up until the game I’m focused on trying to go win a football game.”
On Friday, Belichick had warm words for Brady, saying he was “lucky” to have Brady as his starting quarterback for 19 seasons.
“We’ve talked about that for two decades. I think I’ve been on the record dozens of times saying there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady. I still feel that way. I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback and to coach him. He was as good as any coach could ever ask for,” Belichick said.
The Bucs are coming off a loss to the LA Rams and sit at 2-1 on the year. New England is 1-2 and coming off a loss to the Saints in week three.
Sunday Night Football will be broadcast on NBC at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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