FOXBORO — When Matthew Slater was drafted by the Patriots in 2008, he didn’t suppose too fondly of Tom Brady.
“I didn’t like him when I got here,” Slater cracked on Wednesday.
It was in good nature. Slater grew up a Rams fan as a result of his father Jackie performed all 20 seasons of his profession for them, and he definitely didn’t neglect Brady beating them for his first Super Bowl victory.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know about this Brady guy,’ ” Slater joked.
But it didn’t take lengthy for Slater’s view of Brady to vary.
“I’ll never forget my first day in here, he came up and introduced himself to me,” Slater stated. “He knew a little bit about my college career, there wasn’t much to know, but he knew it. The kindness that he showed me, that he didn’t have to really has stuck with me ever since then. I remember calling my parents, I’m like, ‘Hey, Tom Brady knows my name. He introduced himself.’ And he was like that with everyone. It wasn’t just me. … He was just a genuine, humble human being.”
More than the legendary soccer profession, his seven Super Bowl victories, together with six with the Patriots, and being thought to be the best quarterback of all time, it’s Brady’s character that stands out essentially the most to Slater – who was teammates with Brady for greater than a decade – because the Patriots put together to honor Brady throughout a halftime ceremony at this Sunday’s season opener towards the Eagles.
Sunday will mark Brady’s first return to Foxboro and Gillette Stadium since he and the Buccaneers visited in 2021, and the primary since he formally retired after final season. It was tough for Slater to explain how particular it is going to be.
“It’s really hard to articulate,” Slater stated. “I feel I’ve had fairly just a few folks ask me about this and what does it imply to rejoice Tom, and I feel whenever you attempt to put it into phrases, what he has meant for this place, what he continues to imply for this place, it’s actually laborious. I’m simply grateful that we have now a chance to rejoice him the suitable manner and our fanbase can rejoice him the suitable manner. …
“I know Mr. (Robert) Kraft’s going to do a great job of honoring him,” added Slater, who stated he nonetheless retains in contact with Brady repeatedly as an in depth pal. “How fortunate for all of us, to be able to … whether you were covering him, whether you were playing with him, whether you were watching him, to be able to witness something like that. Twenty years of an unparalleled run. Greatness that we’ve never seen before.”
Slater is one in every of simply eight remaining Patriots on the 53-man roster who performed with Brady in New England, however his impression and presence continues to be felt with this group.
It’s felt inside Gillette Stadium, the place footage of the quarterback are plastered everywhere in the partitions.
“Just walking down here, I probably walked by him five times,” stated Rhamondre Stevenson, who famous that a lot of his soccer reminiscences rising up included watching Brady.
“He’s the GOAT. I watched him rising up on a regular basis. So many alternative video games, so many alternative Super Bowls, it’s a bunch. I may rise up right here speaking about it without end. …
“I think everyone’s excited for him coming back and being in Gillette Stadium. It’s pretty exciting for not only us, but the fans and everybody in the New England area, so we’re all excited but we’re kind of focused on the Eagles right now. But yeah, we’re excited for Tom coming back.”
Mac Jones stated earlier this week throughout an interview on WEEI that Brady acts as a “mentor” to him, and has talked about previously about pursuing the greatness he left behind. The former quarterback’s affect is definitely felt throughout conferences led by Bill Belichick, too.
“Just the way he was a leader, the way he was exemplifying the ‘Patriot Way,’ his execution, his calmness under pressure, definitely referring to Tom a lot in certain situations,” stated Josh Uche. “He’s definitely a pillar to what we got going on here.”
Uche, like Brady, performed school soccer at Michigan, and in a nod to the previous quarterback, wore a Michigan hat to his press convention on Wednesday. As he stepped to the rostrum, the linebacker stated, “Shoutout Tom Brady.”
Long earlier than he was drafted by the Patriots, Uche was a freshman at Michigan in 2016 when Brady visited the Wolverines in Ann Arbor as he served his four-game suspension. Brady addressed the group and left Uche with one of the memorable speeches he’s ever heard.
“It was an honor,” Uche stated. “The passion he spoke with and him being in the same seats I was in as a freshman and him being one of the greatest players to ever play this game, it was just an honor to listen to him and to be in the same environment that he came from. It’s showed me that anything is possible, especially being at Michigan. It was one of the best speeches I ever heard.”
David Andrews stated the Patriots’ largest deal with Sunday is making ready to face the Eagles. But the middle – who snapped to Brady throughout his first 5 seasons and gained two Super Bowls with the quarterback – understands greater than most on the group what he means to the Patriots and what his return represents.
“You can’t say enough great things about the guy,” Andrews stated. “Like I can’t even put it into words what he’s meant to me, done for me and how much I learned from him, how he treated me. I mean, we can go on and on and we can sit up here all day and talk about it. Excited to see him, and excited just for the atmosphere. It will be a great atmosphere, it’s two good football teams and a lot of people will be happy to see him.”