FOXBORO (CBS) — Tom Brady is loving life with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Patriots owner Robert Kraft believes that the quarterback will return to New England and retire as a member of the Pats.

Kraft made that prediction Sunday afternoon to Willie McGinest and Kay Adams on NFL Network, as the football world counts down to kickoff of Sunday night’s Patriots-Buccaneers showdown at Gillette Stadium. As Brady gets set to face his former team in the stadium that he decorated with six Super Bowl banners, Kraft was asked if he was happy to see the quarterback win his seventh Super Bowl title in 2020.

“If we can’t win it, I was happy he won it,” said Kraft. “I know that is strange, but he did so much for us. And look, we had 20 great years. How many other situations are there in the 102-year history of the NFL where a coach and a quarterback have remained the same for 20 years? I don’t think there is another situation [like that]. Life has its twists and turns.

“I’m always rooting for Tommy, except when he’s playing us,” Kraft continued. “In the end, I hope and believe he’ll come back here and we’ll give him his red jacket, and he’ll retire a Patriot.”

Given how things ended with Brady and Bill Belichick a few years ago, the odds are against the quarterback coming back to New England during his playing career. Brady is signed with the Buccaneers through 2022, and if he does continue to play after the age of 45, he’d likely do it in Florida. Perhaps Brady would sign one of those one-day contracts to retire with the team that he spent two decades leading, but that could also be a pretty big longshot.

Kraft is right about one thing though: Brady will indeed be back in New England some day after his retirement to take his place in the Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxboro.

Hours before Sunday night’s game, Kraft met Brady in the tunnel outside of the visitor’s locker room in Gillette Stadium for a hug and a lengthy chat.

 

CBSBoston.com Staff