There's plenty of hype leading up to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Week 4 clash with the New England Patriots this coming season, as it will mark the first time in Tom Brady's historic career that he'll enter the visitor's locker room at Gillette Stadium.
In an interview with Jim Gray for SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio, the seven-time Super Bowl champion acknowledged he's likely returning to New England for the last time in his career, according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
"I've got a lot of familiarity playing in the stadium," Brady said. "You know, we've got to first get to training camp and see where we're going to be and then get through the first three weeks of the year, but I'm sure it'll be a great opportunity for me to go back to a place I know as well as anyone. It'll be a great day for football.
"There's a lot to happen between now and then, and obviously I know the challenge of beating a great team like that, a great organization, great players, so many friends that are still on the team that still are my brothers. Unfortunately, we're going to be on different sides of the stadium this time around."
After the 2021 schedule was released, Brady reacted to the matchup against Bill Belichick and the Patriots by tweeting:
It’s like when your high school friends meet your college friends https://t.co/RF5zVB9rI1— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 13, 2021
Brady spent 20 seasons with the Patriots, winning six Super Bowl titles and setting several franchise records. He left after the 2019 season, agreeing to a deal with the Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 campaign and eventually leading Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl championship since 2003.
While Brady knows returning to New England will come with a lot of attention, he told Gray that he's focused on continuing to build something new in Tampa Bay.
"I'm not naive to the fact there's some marquee games you always look at over the course of the season, a matchup of places guys have been versus where they're at now," said Brady. "You know, brothers playing one another, or former Super Bowl teams going -- when we played the Giants in the regular season, it always felt like it was a little more when I was with the Patriots. So, naturally, there's just more buildup, but at the end of the day, it's going to be a game where we're going to prepare like we've been preparing."
The Buccaneers are expected to compete for another Super Bowl title in 2021 after re-signing all of their starters from last season's championship-winning squad.