TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady described this as a “very emotional week” going back to New England where he spent two decades and won six Super Bowl titles with head coach Bill Belichick.
After the Bucs’ 19-17 win Sunday night against the Patriots, Brady, and Belichick shared a quick embrace on the field, then a 20-minute private meeting in the locker room.
“We’ve had a personal relationship for 20-plus years,” Brady said. "He drafted me here. We had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way. They're very private. I would say, so much is made of our relationship. Nothing is really accurate that I ever see. It definitely doesn't come from my personal feelings or beliefs.”
Belichick did not have much to say publicly when asked about the experience facing Brady.
“We went against Tom Brady every day in practice defensively,” Belichick said. “It’s not like we’ve never seen Tom Brady before.”
But Belichick and the Patriots’ fans that adored Brady for 20-seasons have never seen Brady like this — jogging out of the visitor’s tunnel.
“I couldn't run through the normal tunnel, so, yeah, just happened to be the opposite way,” Brady said. “Just a lot of emotions. These guys are like my brothers. There are two groups of people: all my Bucs teammates that I love and I'm going to battle with every week; and then there is another group of guys that I see, and those are my friends that I been with for a long time ... these are the people that I've shared my life with. Very grateful for everything they've kind of contributed to my life. Very blessed.”
Fittingly enough, Brady also became the NFL’s career passing leader during the game. When he completed a 28-yard pass to Mike Evans in the first quarter he surpassed the record set last year by Drew Brees, who was also in attendance.