On Sunday night, Tom Brady will make his return to New England. It'll be the first time in his NFL career that he's on the opposing sideline at Gillette Stadium.
Believe it or not, Brady doesn't expect Patriots fans to welcome him back with open arms. That's because he believes the crowd in Foxborough is going to be focused on giving the home team as much of an advantage as possible.
“I wouldn’t expect a homecoming,” Brady said. “I think they’re there to root for their team, and their team is the Patriots. And I’ll certainly have a lot of people that cheered for me over the years, I know there’ll probably be, I’ll have a lot of family there and I have a lot of friends that have wanted to go to the game.
"The home crowd at Gillette is a great crowd. And I think they’re going to cheer for their team as I would expect them to. And I think if they know anything about me, they’re going to know that I’m going out there to try to win the football game. So I think they’ll respect that about me. I certainly respect that they’re there to pull for their team and that’s the way sports goes.”
Brady admit that Sunday's matchup will generate a plethora of headlines, but he wants to treat this week of preparation as if it's just any other regular season game.
"I’m excited to go play a football game and a regular-season football game and try to get back on a winning track,” Brady explained. “And I know it’s against the team that I played 20 years for, and I know it’s against a very quality team and a great organization and a great franchise, but I’m going to do everything I can to keep it like I normally do."
Brady might not be expecting a homecoming on Sunday, but we have a hard time believing the fans won't at least give him a standing ovation before the game begins. At the very least, he deserves that much.
Kickoff for the Buccaneers-Patriots game is at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.