NFL: FEB 07 Super Bowl LV - Chiefs v Buccaneers
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tom Brady continues to add to his illustrious NFL legacy, even when he's on a bum leg, i.e., a torn MCL. The five-time and currently reigning Super Bowl MVP is riding high after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first Lombardi Trophy in roughly two decades, taking just one season to achieve that goal after parting ways with the New England Patriots last offseason. Brady's free agency decision in 2020 was one of the biggest headlines in the history of the sport, considering he spent 20 seasons with the Patriots and constructed a first-ballot Hall of Fame caliber career with them -- setting the stage for an eventual return, but on the other sideline.

That didn't happen last season due to NFL scheduling, but the league made sure to rectify that in 2021. Brady will visit his former team when his Bucs head to Gillette Stadium in Week 4 for a clash in primetime, and at least one current Patriots player isn't bending the knee. Byron Cowart, a Patriots defensive tackles who played one year with Brady, has a scathing message for the man who helped lead New England to six Super Bowl victories.

"He's done a lot of things for this organization," prefaced Cowart on the Patriots Way of Life podcast before drawing a definitive line in the sand. "He's coming back, but he's coming back as an opponent, so I'm going to treat it like any opponent. We ain't welcoming him, we just got to play him. 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 no -- bro, this is our opponent. Bro, what? We like to win."

To be fair, no one should be angry with Cowart or take his words as intended disrespect, but instead a competitive player letting it be known that when the ball kicks off, he won't see "Tom Brady" -- he'll see a quarterback he's paid to put face-first in the dirt. But, that said, Cowart is likely very incorrect in expecting the Patriots to not honor Brady in some way. Time will if they actually do or not, but considering what Brady meant to the franchise, and in how it's his first time back in Foxborough, it would be quite the surprise if the Patriots simply shrugged the return off as no big deal.

Regardless of what they intend to do, it's clear what Cowart's intentions are. Giving Brady some bulletin board material probably isn't the best idea, though.