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Tom Brady doesn’t expect a homecoming when he comes home to Foxboro

Bill Belichick has "so much respect and appreciation for Tom and everything he did" as a member of the New England Patriots, but says the "focus is on the game" this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tom Brady, if you haven’t heard, makes his return to New England on Sunday. He addressed the reception he expects to receive at his looming return on the latest episode of the Let’s Go! podcast.

I wouldn’t expect a homecoming,” Brady said. “I think they’re there to root for their team, and their team is the Patriots. And I’ll certainly have a lot of people that cheered for me over the years, I know there’ll probably be, I’ll have a lot of family there and I have a lot of friends that have wanted to go to the game. . . . The home crowd at Gillette is a great crowd. And I think they’re going to cheer for their team as I would expect them to. And I think if they know anything about me, they’re going to know that I’m going out there to try to win the football game. So I think they’ll respect that about me. I certainly respect that they’re there to pull for their team and that’s the way sports goes.”

That’s indeed the way sports goes. The business of sports goes a way that resulted in Brady going away.

“That’s the reality of pro sports, you know, and I think again, I think having the opportunity as a free agent 18 months ago, and, you know, choosing Tampa and then seeing that we were gonna play the AFC East, I knew it would be inevitable,” Brady said. “And, you know, here we are kind of, as we approach this week, you know, it’ll be obviously a fun week. There’s a lot of buildup, a lot of hype, and I know it’s kind of been going on for quite a while.”

Many are excited about the game; is Brady?

“I’m excited to go play a football game and a regular-season football game and try to get back on a winning track,” Brady said. “And I know it’s against the team that I played 20 years for, and I know it’s against a very quality team and a great organization and a great franchise, but I’m going to do everything I can to keep it like I normally do. I mean, I feel like I put 100 percent into every week, so it’s not like I can say, well, this week I’m going to put 110 percent in because I try to put 100 percent in every week to the opponent. You know, I have a lot of obviously tremendous memories. I have some of the greatest experiences of my life took place in the last 20 years, personally and professionally. You know, going back to a place that I know so well with so many friends will be a really exciting thing for everybody. And I think as the ball gets kicked off, I know it’s going to be kind of a normal football game and I’m going to have to go do what I’ve always tried to do, is be a great quarterback for the team that I’m playing on. And I’d love to go up there and get a win against a really great football team.”

It would also be rewarding to get a win against a really great football coach, Bill Belichick.

“Well, I have 20 years of being there and, you know, obviously he’s a great mentor for me,” Brady said. “And, yes, there’s definitely great lessons I’ve learned from him. And, you know, he’s a great football coach and he does a great job for his team. Any player I think they would just hope that their coaches give them everything they’ve got and I’m sure every great coach wants every player to give them everything they’ve got. And I think that’s what makes a great relationship.”

That’s a far cry from the recent comments from Brady’s trainer, Alex Guerrero, regarding the failure of Belichick to evolve as Brady aged. Unless and until Brady disputes or disavows Guerrero’s words, it’s fair to assume that’s what Brady believes. Even if he’ll never, ever say it -- at least not until he writes his autobiography.