Edelman knows what message Brady wants to send vs. Patriots

/ by Darren Hartwell
Presented By Nissan

Only Tom Brady knows how Tom Brady feels about returning to New England on Sunday for the first time since leaving the Patriots in 2020 free agency.

But Julian Edelman can make a pretty educated guess.

The retired wide receiver was Brady's teammate for 11 years in Foxboro and also was one of his closest friends. So, Edelman knows how Brady operates -- and is confident the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback will enter Sunday's game with a very large chip on his shoulder.

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"He definitely wants to go out there and put some points up," Edelman said recently on The Ringer's "Ryen Russillo Podcast." "That's the kind of guy he is. He's very competitive, and we'd all be ignorant to say there wasn't a little extra on this game."

More specifically, Edelman believes Brady will use the circumstances of his departure -- Bill Belichick and the Patriots letting the greatest quarterback of all time walk as a free agent -- to fuel his performance Sunday.

"He's gonna want to go out there and perform at the absolute best of his ability to show them, 'Hey, you could have kept me,' " Edelman said.

"I mean, this is the same guy that -- didn't we have the 'Brady Six' where he was crying or something because he was drafted a certain way? He already had like four Super Bowls at the time they were making this thing and he's still thinking about that.


"I can't read minds, but I can read mannerisms. He's a repeat offender."

Edelman presents some compelling evidence -- although Brady *only* had three Super Bowl titles when ESPN's documentary about the six quarterbacks taken ahead of him in the 2000 NFL Draft aired in 2011.

That the Patriots will face a very motivated Brady should surprise no one; ex-Patriots safety Rodney Harrison sees his former teammate wanting to "rip the Patriots' face off their head," while even Brady himself admitted his former teammates know he's aiming to "kick their butt" at Gillette Stadium.

Brady and the 2-1 Bucs have a good chance to do just that against the scuffling Patriots. But Tampa Bay will be without Rob Gronkowski -- and is facing a coach who knows Brady better than anyone in Belichick.

Kickoff for Pats-Bucs is Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.