Tom Brady previews return to New England ahead of Buccaneers-Patriots showdown

TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady acknowledged Monday that he will feel "different kinds of emotions" when he returns to Gillette Stadium this weekend for the first time since leaving New England, where he said he enjoyed "some of the greatest experiences of my life."

Brady's Bucs visit the Patriots, with whom he spent 20 seasons and won six Super Bowls, on Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC).

"I know that locker room, I know that home locker room, I know that home tunnel, I know which way the wind blows, I know everything about that [place]," Brady told Jim Gray on their "Let's Go!" podcast on SiriusXM. "I know the way it smells. I know what a night game's like, I know what the fans are gonna sound like. So in some ways, that'll be really unique. I've never had that experience going to, you know -- it'll be a first time for me being on the other sideline.

"I'm not going to necessarily reminisce. I don't think this is the moment for that. I'll have plenty opportunities to reminisce about my football career -- none of it, none of which I really care to do right now because I'm so much in the moment. I'm not going to be thinking about 20 years of history. I'm going to be thinking about one night of football, a Sunday night game coming off a really tough loss."

The Bucs were beaten by the Los Angeles Rams 34-24 on Sunday. It was their first defeat since Nov. 29, 2020, snapping a 10-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Patriots, behind rookie QB Mac Jones, are coming off a 28-13 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Brady said he understands if fans who have supported him for 20 years won't be this week, and he said he's OK with it. He expects both teams to be "fighting and clawing for a win" come Sunday.

"I wouldn't expect that -- a homecoming," said Brady, who added that he will have a number of family members and friends in attendance -- and they've been asking for tickets for six months. "I mean, I think they're there to root for their team, and their team is the Patriots. I think they're gonna cheer for their team as I would expect them to, and I think if they know anything about me, they're gonna know that I'm going out there to try to win the football game, so I think they'll respect that about me.

"One thing I learned from the Patriots -- [Bill] Belichick would say, 'Listen, if you love football, then, 8:30 on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium is the place to be.'"

Much has been made about the relationship, and possible friction, between Brady and Belichick. Just last week, Brady's longtime trainer, Alex Guerrero, told the Boston Herald that he didn't believe Belichick's treatment of Brady evolved with time, and that the famed coach continued to treat the star QB like he was 20 years old instead of a 40-year-old man.

Brady, though, called Belichick a "great mentor" in the podcast with Gray.

"Well I have 20 years -- I have 20 years of being there and obviously he's a great mentor for me," Brady said of Belichick. "And yes I think there's definitely great lessons I've learned from him. He's a great football coach, and he does a great job for his team. And, you know any player, I think they would just hope that their coaches give them everything they got. I'm sure every great coach wants every player to give them everything they got. And I think that's what makes a great relationship."

Brady also shared his feelings about his father, Tom Brady Sr., telling NBC Sports Boston last week that he personally felt "vindicated" by his son winning a Super Bowl last season with the Bucs and without Belichick.

"I've actually prepared a statement that I wanted to say, and it's really all that I have to say on the subject," Brady said jokingly. "Comments made by Thomas Edward Brady, a 77-year-old insurance company CEO who should know better at this point in his life, doesn't necessarily reflect the views or positions held by his son, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., so furthermore should Tom Sr. continue to speak out on behalf of his son without the express written consent, Tom Jr. reserves the right to eventually put him in a home against his will. That's all I have to say."