Taylor Heinicke will square off against old friend Tom Brady when the Washington Football Team hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night.
OK, "old friend" is a stretch. But Heinicke, who will start for Washington in the NFC Wild Card round with Alex Smith ruled out, does have a history with Brady.
After spending his first two NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Heinicke latched on with the New England Patriots' practice squad in September 2017. So, he decided he'd ingratiate himself with the GOAT.
"The first day I was there, I said [to myself], 'I'm going to make a great impression. I'm going to be the first one in the building,' " Heinicke said Thursday, via NBC Sports Washington.
So, Heinicke strolled into the Patriots' practice facility between 5:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. -- to find Brady already watching film.
"He had no idea that they had just signed a practice squad quarterback," Heinicke recalled. "He was like, 'Who the hell are you?' "
Fortunately, Brady let Heinicke join his film session that morning. But the Washington quarterback admitted he tried to stay out of Brady's hair during his brief Patriots tenure, which lasted less than three weeks.
"It's one of those things where you don't want to say anything stupid and he's like, 'Get this guy out of here,' " Heinicke said. "Again, I just kept my mouth shut and really soaked it in. That's when Jimmy [Garoppolo] was still there and really try to soak it in with those guys. They're successful for a reason, and I feel like I learned a lot from them."
The Bucs will hope Brady didn't teach Heinicke too many of his secrets ahead of Saturday's game in Washington. Heinicke has appeared in just one game this season but fared relatively well, completing 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers.
Be sure to catch Tampa Bay take on Washington in an NFC Wild Card matchup Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC10 Boston. Pregame coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET with Football Night in America.