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If Tom Brady wants to return to the NFL this year, he has an open invite to join the New England Patriots, but they wouldn't necessarily be looking to sign him as a player. 

During an interview on Monday with WEEI in Boston, Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo said he would welcome Brady back with open arms if he wants to join New England's coaching staff. 

"I love Tom and the door is always open if he wants to come in here and coach," Mayo said. 

If Brady wants to coach, then he has a job with the Patriots, but if he wants to actually play, Mayo didn't sound so sure about that option. 

"As far as going on the field, I don't know," Mayo said. "But If he comes in here, once again, going back to the 'best player will play,' you have to come in here and compete and he loves competition."

Although Brady is a fierce competitor, Mayo doesn't think the 46-year-old will actually try to play for the Patriots this year. 

"I doubt he's going to be walking through these doors any time soon," Mayo said.

Brady has been retired for more than a year now, but the seven-time Super Bowl winner sounded open to a possible NFL return this year. The four-time NFL MVP hinted during an interview on April 11 that he might be interested in coming out of retirement, but only if it came in a spot like Las Vegas or New England. 

"I'm not opposed to it," Brady said of a possible comeback on the "Deep Cuts" podcast. "I don't know if they're gonna let me, if I become an owner of an NFL team, but I don't know if -- I don't know, I'm always gonna be in good shape, (I'll) always be able to throw the ball. So to come in for a little bit, like M.J. coming back? I don't know if they'd let me, but I wouldn't be opposed to it."

Brady has already come out of retirement once before, so it wouldn't be totally surprising to see it happen again, which might be why Mayo didn't totally shoot down the idea. 

That being said, if Brady is going to return, this year is probably his last chance. As Brady noted, he's about to become a minority owner of an NFL team (Raiders) and once that gets voted through, it will be almost impossible for him to return, because he'd have to get approval from the NFL owners to play at that point, and he'd need 24 out of 32 of them to be on board with it. Let's also not forget that Brady has a job lined up at Fox as their No. 1 color analyst on NFL games, and they'd probably love to know if he plans on playing this year. 

As for the Patriots, they seem more than set at quarterback for the 2024 season. Not only did they select Drake Maye with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft last week, but they also took a flier on Tennessee QB Joe Milton in the sixth round. Thanks to those two picks, the Patriots now have five quarterbacks on their roster, which makes for a crowded QB room. 

Of course, even if Brady doesn't return to New England as a coach or player his year, he'll still be making his way to Foxboro in the very near future. The NFL legend will be inducted into the Patriots' Hall of Fame in a ceremony that will take place on June 12 at Gillette Stadium.