Its simply part of life in professional sports. Players and coaches wind up making all kinds of homecoming trips, back to where they worked and lived for some parts of their careers. Or they wind up having their former teams come to them.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees gets the latter this weekend when the Ravens take on the Patriots Sunday night. He coached with New England for six years, and Pees gets to see his old friends in this game.
Its always an emotional game, Pees said when talking with the media earlier this week. Im not going to lie about that and act like its just another game. Its a big game for me. Theres a lot of friends over there on the other sideline, a lot of old colleagues, a lot of players that I coached.
Pees came to Baltimore after leaving New England following the 2009 season for personal reasons, he said this week Hes been with the Ravens since and moved up to defensive coordinator this season after Chuck Pagano left the job to take over as the Colts head coach.
Pees said he still deals with Patriots coach Bill Belichick at times, and they get along just fine.
My relationship with him is great, Pees said. We still speak on occasion when were playing a team thats a common opponent, and we arent playing each other In certain years, well discuss things. Its a great relationship.
Thats part of life in the NFL. You make friends and contacts at every stop. There are times when those contacts are ones you deal with againlike in Baltimore where Pees is working under coach John Harbaugh. Pees coached him in college in the early 80s.
So on Sunday, Pees will once again see some old friends. Some games just wind up being a bit harder than others.