FOXBORO -- Before Thursday's preseason game with the Eagles, Tom Brady did something he very rarely does.
He took the field early. He didn't yet have his pads on. His arrival wasn't accompanied by Jay-Z's "Public Service Announcement." He chatted for a few minutes with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Brady then threw a handful of passes to Eric Decker before heading back into the locker room.
What was that about? Hard to say. Brady chose not to answer that part of a two-part question he fielded after beating Philly, 37-28. But it might've been because of rumblings he'd heard about him being a sore loser.
In Philadelphia, part of the allure of the preseason rematch of Super Bowl LII was that it gave Brady an opportunity to shake the hand of the quarterback that beat him back in February. Brady hadn't tracked down Foles at the end of that Minnesota night. And people remembered.
Television stations discussed it before the game. (I joined NBC Sports Philadelphia pregame and put the odds at less than 5 percent that Brady and Foles would shake. So mark it down. My first-ever incorrect prediction. It was bound to happen eventually.) Beat writers wrote about it before the game.
This had become a thing. And Brady couldn't ignore the noise.
Was he aware that there was a section of the country wondering whether or not he'd shake hands with Foles, I asked him?
"I did hear that," Brady said. "I know that was kind of made up to me because that was never my intention. I wouldn't, you know, be a bad sport.
"I have a lot of respect for Nick and Carson, all those quarterbacks and the way they played. They're a great team. I know how hard it is to win that last game. They did it. Congrats to them. But we're onto 2018. We've got our goal ahead of us. We're going to try to go on and put together a great year."
After Thursday's game, Brady jogged to midfield to meet a trio of Eagles. First, he shook with safety Malcolm Jenkins, who knocked his fastest receiver from the Super Bowl with a hellacious (and legal) hit.
Then Brady found Foles, clasped his hand and hugged him. The two spoke briefly, cameras all around, before they went their separate ways.
After that, Brady met with Michael Bennett -- his most imposing competitor in Super Bowl XLIX and the brother of Brady's former teammate Martellus Bennett -- and they chatted before Brady finally headed inside.
Three Eagles faces. Three pleasant interactions. Three shots at putting to bed a storyline that Brady clearly didn't appreciate -- cringe-worthy as it may have been. Seems like it worked.