FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — In three days, Tom Brady will play in front of fans at Gillette Stadium for the first time since Jan. 4, 2020.
Brady has beaten all but one team in his NFL career, and unsurprisingly, it’s the team with which he spent the first two decades of his career.
Sunday’s game also marks the first time Brady and his long-time head coach will go head-to-head.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Bill Belichick said Brady has done a lot for him and the rest of the Patriots organization, which includes six Super Bowls and a list of broken records. So, in a way, it’s fitting that Brady will almost surely become the league’s all-time leading passer against his former team, needing just 68 yards to overtake Drew Brees.
Despite that, linebacker Matthew Judon downplayed the significance of Brady’s accomplishments on Thursday.
“He’s the next quarterback we’ve got to play,” Judon said. “I know he was in this building for a long time and what he’s done can never be taken away from the game of football … but it’s not like we’re afraid of what Tom Brady can do. We have to stop their whole offense.”
The Patriots hit the practice field again on Thursday as they get ready to host the Buccaneers, who are 7-point favorites in the contest.
Tight end Hunter Henry said he watched Brady and fellow TE Rob Gronkowski play growing up, but that won’t matter once game time comes.
“We’re playing football, and we’re trying to beat them, and we’re competing, so that’s what it’s going to come down to,” Henry said. “Those guys deserve all the respect, admiration, everything, cause they did a lot here with this Patriots organization, but once football comes — we’re playing ball.”
It’s unclear at this time if Gronkowski will play Sunday. He injured his ribs in last week’s game against the Rams and didn’t participate in practice Wednesday.
The Bucs did, however, activate from the Reserve/COVID-19 list another former, albeit short-lived, Patriot in wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Kickoff for Sunday’s game is scheduled for 8:20 p.m.