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Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart on Tom Brady’s return to Gillette Stadium: ‘I’m going to treat it like any opponent’

Related: The Patriots vs Buccaneers hype train has already left the station

New England Patriots Training Camp Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images

Usually, the reigning world champions going against a team that finished with a losing record the previous year is not the most anticipated game of an NFL regular season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ trip to face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in October, however, will not be an ordinary game.

It’s Tom versus Bill. The clash of the GOATs.

Needless to say that Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough for the first time since leaving the Patriots last offseason — going up versus head coach Bill Belichick and numerous long-time teammates in the process — will be a big one. Ticket prices also reflect this, with the most expensive costing more than $8,000.

For as many narratives are flying around the game, the players themselves see it as just another contest on their schedule. Among them is Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart, who recently spoke about the game during an appearance on the Weupnowgaming Twitch channel.

“He’s done a lot of things for this organization,” the third-year defender said. “He’s coming back, but he’s coming back as an opponent, so I’m going to treat it like any opponent.”

When the hosts began talking about the Patriots welcoming Brady back in his return, Cowart quickly interrupted.

“We ain’t welcoming him back. We just play him,” he said. “There ain’t going to be no damn ceremony for him or nothing like that ... They might clap for him, but there’s not going to be… This is our opponent. We like to win.”

Cowart and Brady are no strangers to one another, having spent the 2019 season on the team together. While Cowart was a fifth-round rookie who only saw marginal playing time, Brady had already won six Super Bowls at that point. He added a seventh after he left to join the Buccaneers last spring.

The young defender, however, is not feeling any added pressure having to go up against the greatest player in franchise and league history.

“It’s still a Boston mentality,” Cowart explained. “I’m trying to adapt the culture, but it’s like blue-collar, hard-working people. Like I said, love the guy. He did a lot for the community, the city, but he’s still an opponent.”

The Patriots and Buccaneers will meet on October 3.