When Tom Brady and the Buccaneers visit New England for a Week 4 road game later this year, it will mark the first time in Brady's 22-year career that he'll be on the visiting sideline at Gillette Stadium.
When Brady takes the field for the first time that night, no one really knows how Patriots fans are going to react. Will they give him a loud cheer because he won six Super Bowls for the franchise or will they boo him because he's playing for the other team?
Vince Wilfork, who played with Brady for 11 seasons in New England (2004-14), thinks the answer is obvious. The former Patriots defensive tackle thinks the fans at Gillette Stadium are going to welcome their former quarterback with "open arms."
"I think it's going to be a home game feeling for him, I really do," Wilford said recently on ESPN's First Take. "I think the fans are going to welcome him with open arms. I think he's going to be embraced because of so much he's done for that organization. You know, Tom is Tom, a New England Patriot or a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. He's Tom, and people love Tom and people hate Tom, but he's going to a place where he won a lot of football games, he started the Super Bowl runs and I really think they're going to welcome him with open arms. I really do."
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It won't be surprising at all to see the fans embrace Brady and that's mostly because of what he did for the organization during his 20 years in Foxboro. That being said, although Brady might get a warm welcome from the fans, he probably shouldn't expect to get one from anyone on the Patriots' sideline.
During a recent interview, Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart made it clear that New England's defense is going to treat Brady just like any other opponent.
"He's coming back, but he's coming back as an opponent, so I'm going to treat it like any opponent," Cowart said on the Patriots Way of Life podcast. "We ain't welcoming him, we just got to play him. There ain't going to be no damn ceremony for him or nothing like that."
On Brady's end, he wasn't ready to look quite that far ahead when he was asked about the game during an interview with SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports radio in mid-July.
"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," Brady said.
Brady did add that it will be "a great day for football."
If you're thinking about attending the Buccaneers-Patriots game, you might have to take out a small loan just so you can afford a ticket. Right now, it's the hottest game of the regular season with the cheapest tickets going for roughly $700 on the secondary market.