The New England Patriots will honor quarterback Tom Brady just over three years after he last took the field for the franchise at Gillette Stadium and months after his official retirement from the NFL.
Brady first returned to Gillette Stadium on Oct. 3, 2021, facing New England as an opponent. While the franchise honored him before the game and fans celebrated his arrival, the future Hall of Famer’s focus was on beating the Patriots in that Sunday Night Football matchup.
- Tom Brady career stats: 251-83 record, 89,214 passing yards, 649 passing touchdowns, 97.2 QB rating, 64.3 percent completion rate, 58 game-winning drives
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Two years later, Brady will now have his opportunity to take in a standing ovation, a pre-game celebration and spend time with his former teammates. With the Patriots 2023 schedule announced, New England is doing something special for the biggest star in its history.
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In an announcement on Thursday, owner Robert Kraft said the franchise will honor Brady during the Patriots’ home game in Week 2.
“The greatest player in the history of the game played right here in Foxboro, and I’m happy to tell you…I invited him back to come here and be with us at the opening game.”New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on honoring Tom Brady in Week 2
Brady first retired in 2022 but returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the hope of winning an eighth Super Bowl ring. After falling short this season and showing signs of decline, the 45-year-old walked away from football for good.
Interestingly, per Jordan Schultz, New England’s Week 2 matchup at Gillette Stadium will come against the Miami Dolphins. Not only is it a franchise Brady had great success against, but there’s also a recent history between the two.
- Tom Brady stats vs Miami Dolphins: 94.7 QB rating, 72-27 TD-INT, 24-12 record, 61.3 percent completion rate, 238.8 pass ypg, 101 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns
The NFL stripped the Dolphins of a 2023 first-round pick and suspended owner Stephen Ross after a league investigation found it tampered with Brady. Miami offered him a high position in the front office shortly after his retirement in 2022, with an eye on eventually getting him back onto the field with Sean Payton as his coach.
Even after his second retirement, reports have suggested Brady could come out of retirement for a second time to play for the Dolphins if Tua Tagovailoa gets injured. While he hasn’t completely shut down speculation of another comeback, his focus seems to be on his family.
As long as Brady doesn’t unretire between now and the Sep. 17 matchup against Miami – broadcasted on Sunday Night Football – the Patriots, their fans, Kraft and Bill Belichick will hold a special celebration for him.