Will Tom Brady receive a hero's welcome when he returns to Gillette Stadium in Week 4 as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart didn't seem to think so when he said he doesn't expect a "damn ceremony" for the quarterback who won six Super Bowl titles over 20 years in New England.
Patriots legend Vince Wilfork has a different opinion on the matter.
"I think it’s going to be a home game feeling for him. I really do," Wilfork said of Brady Tuesday 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.
"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. I really think they’re going to welcome him with open arms."
Wilfork understands Brady's legacy in New England as well as anyone. The former defensive lineman won a Super Bowl during his first year with the Patriots in 2004 -- Brady's third championship in a four-year span -- and watched the QB dominate the AFC over the next 11 seasons.
It's understandable why Cowart and his Patriots teammates don't want their home crowd going crazy for an opponent, especially in a game that will be hard for New England to win against the defending Super Bowl champions.
Odds are Wilfork is right, though. Brady is an icon in New England after helping launch the greatest dynasty in professional sports, and many fans don't blame the 43-year-old for leaving the Patriots in free agency considering how his final few years in Foxboro played out.
So, expect plenty of cheers for Brady on Oct. 3 when he runs out of the locker room at Gillette Stadium -- just like old times.