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Patriots to honor Tom Brady at home opener in retired QB's return to New England

The New England Patriots will welcome Tom Brady back to Foxborough for their 2023 home opener -- as a fan.

Pats owner Robert Kraft told NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Thursday that he's invited TB12 back to New England to honor the legendary QB.

"The NFL is over a century old, and 20 percent of those years of the NFL the greatest player in the history of the game played right here in Foxborough," Kraft said. "And I'm happy to tell you and your audience that I invited him back, to come here and be with us at the opening game and let the fans in New England thank him for the great service he gave us for over 20 years. And it will be the beginning of many celebrations to honor Tom Brady and say thank you for what he did for us those 20 years playing for the New England Patriots."

The Patriots will host the Philadelphia Eagles in their season opener at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS. Brady memorably split a pair of Super Bowls against the Eagles during his time with the Pats.

Brady led a two-decade dynasty in New England, leading the Pats to six Super Bowl victories and 17 division titles. The G.O.A.T. announced his retirement -- again-- on Feb. 1. Assuming this one sticks, the home-opening celebration will likely be the first of many post-career honors for Brady in New England.

It will be Brady's second return to Foxborough since leaving the Patriots after the 2019 season. The quarterback played against New England as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, defeating his former team, 19-17.

In addition to the much-ballyhooed Week 1 matchup, the Patriots will also head to Frankfurt, Germany, in Week 10 to face the Indianapolis Colts.

Kraft is looking forward to his club being part of the enterprise of growing the NFL in Germany.

"It's very exciting. My principal business in paper and packaging, my second office I set up in Humboldt, Germany and I got to go there a lot," he said. "Believe it or not, I went to a game in Frankfurt in NFL Europe, and it gave me an exposure to see how great the Germans fans and how enthusiastic they are. They're like great NFL fans in the dedicated regions of the country that care about football. So, we were really excited to have this opportunity. It started when we drafted our first player in 2009 (German-born Sebastian Vollmer) and he was really special. We had Jakob Johnson and Markus Kuhn come after that. We started broadcasting games back to Germany in 2016, and it really has made a big difference."

The Patriots have a 3-0 record in International Games -- two in London, one in Mexico City -- with Brady at the helm (2009, 35-7 over Tampa Bay; 2012, 45-7 over St. Louis; 2017, 33-8 over Oakland).

"Well, we very much wanted to be in Germany, and we have had the good fortune of winning the three times that we played outside of America before," Kraft noted. "I hope our defense holds up because the three games, each team scored less and in single digits. We're privileged to be 3-0 and score 113 points and our rivals scored 22. So we like that differential and we hope that continues that good vibe."

Between the Brady ceremony and a Germany game, the Pats' schedule has generated good vibes in May. It's now on Bill Belichick and his staff to keep them rolling into the fall.

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