Even if you've only seen Tom Brady walk down the hall once at Gillette Stadium during his tenure with the Patriots, odds are you'll be asked for comment this week as the Bucs quarterback is slated to face his former team for the first time. Of course, because Brady spent so much time in New England, he's built a number of relationships along the way, including with Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears, who has been with the organization dating back to 1999. Needless to say, he's seen it all with TB12.
On Tuesday, the veteran coach was asked about Brady's return and while he still holds his former quarterback dear, there will be no love lost when the game kicks off.
"I love Tom Brady," said Fears. "I always have. I spent 20 years with the young guy. I'm very honored to have been a part of the team with him. I still think he's the greatest. But right now, that SOB is the enemy. However you put it, he's the enemy. I still love him. I think he's a great person. But I'm not going to be sharing any love when it comes to game time. We'll share that love afterward when it's all said and done.
"I think he's a hell of a player. He's a great person, a hell of a player, hell of a leader. God, he's got all that stuff going. We miss him. Well, I should say I miss him as a person. Right now, I'm happy for him, for the success he's had. And I'm looking forward to trying to beat his butt. That's what counts. That's all that matters right now. We're going after each other. Too bad I can't be out there (laughs)."
This is actually a similar sentiment that Brady himself had about this upcoming matchup. The defending Super Bowl MVP said this week that he isn't "going to necessarily reminisce" during his return to Foxborough and will largely just look to rebound after the Buccaneers' Week 3 loss to the Rams.
Of course, there's a clear motivation for both of these teams to win simply to improve following losses last week. That said, considering the matchup, there's even more juice to this matchup than a simple regular-season win.
2021 Tom Brady jerseys now available
Can Tom Brady win his eighth Super Bowl at age 44? If you're a Brady fan, it's time to get a new jersey featuring No. 12. Shop red, pewter, and gray jerseys, t-shirts, hoodies, and more here.
We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Excited for the biggest NFL schedule in history? Follow along on the CBS Sports app and get the latest insights from our team of NFL insiders, plus news from our team of experts, as well as data insights on every player. If you already have the CBS Sports app, make sure to favorite the your favorite team so you don't miss a thing!