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Monday, October 18, 2021

Brady met with tribute video, embraces in return

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8:37 PM ET

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    Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered Patriots since 1997
    • Joined ESPN in 2009

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots honored Tom Brady with a one-minute video of his top highlights, which sparked the rain-soaked crowd to chant his name in appreciation before the star quarterback led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers onto the field for Sunday night’s game at Gillette Stadium.

Cheers of “Brady! Brady! Brady!” then filled the stadium.

Brady first arrived on the field for warmups shortly before 7:30 p.m., and the fans who arrived at their seats early — many in Brady jerseys — erupted in what seemed like a Super Bowl-type atmosphere. Brady jogged the full length of the field, skipped, and pumped his right fist as he made it to the opposite end.

That was something Brady did over his tenure with the Patriots, but this time, his jog was in the opposite direction, starting at the visitors’ tunnel.

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 4, 2021

Brady then gave Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels an embrace as he jogged to the Buccaneers’ side of the field and the crowd chanted “Brady! Brady!” as he began to warm up.

Soon after, rookie Patriots quarterback Mac Jones took the field to a thunderous ovation — a most unusual scene in which the quarterbacks for both teams were cheered.

When Brady played for the Patriots, he would often visit the field on road games shortly after arriving on the team bus. But Brady didn’t do that Sunday after arriving around 5 p.m. ET, instead going straight to the visitors’ locker room and staying there until warm-ups.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft met with Brady about three hours before kickoff, in the tunnel outside the Buccaneers’ locker room. The two shared an embrace and spoke for a couple of minutes.

The split allegiances for some was reflected by Tim O’Toole, of Kennebunk, Maine, who wore a half-Patriots, half-Buccaneers Brady jersey.

Tim O’Toole, of Kennebunk, Maine by way of Wrentham, Mass, is here with family in a jersey that reflects his dual allegiances. pic.twitter.com/lDOq944tbd

— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 3, 2021

ESPN NFL analyst Randy Moss said that aspect of the matchup intrigued him.

“For the history that Tom made in Foxborough, it’s going to be emotional for a lot of fans. Are you a Brady fan or a Patriot fan? I think that’s one thing you’re going to figure out,” Moss said.

“I think there’s a difference. The Tom Brady fans are going to be cheering for him for four quarters. The Patriot fans are going to give Tom his just due and respect, then when that doggone ball is kicked off, it’s about, ‘Let’s be loud and get our team this victory.’ Gillette Stadium has always been Patriots, but the greatest quarterback of all time is coming home. So I’m anxious to see what type of stadium it’s going to be.”

Once the game started and Brady took the field, boos could be heard.

Other fans brought signs of support specifically for Brady, and at one point, a Buccaneers flag hung in the end zone.

Scene setter. pic.twitter.com/B2nq2cW2vl

— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 3, 2021

Meanwhile, the night had a heavily family feel to it for Brady. His wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, was in attendance, along with their children. Brady’s parents also traveled to Foxborough for the game.

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