NFL

Tom Brady set to face first former Ohio State starting QB in his career, Justin Fields

The length of Tom Brady’s career is old enough to drink. And yet, in that entire span of time, the Michigan product has never faced off with a rival from Ohio State.

That fact changes permanently Sunday when the Buccaneers host former Buckeyes star Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears. Brady was asked about this interesting lack of a meeting with an opposing signal-caller from his collegiate archrival and deftly navigated potentially treacherous waters.

“How about that? I’m not going to say anything too inflammatory about Ohio State,” Brady said, alluding to the Buckeyes’ dominance over the Wolverines in the last decade. “I’ll have my time. This is Michigan State week, so those are the guys I can kind of go after.

“That’s interesting. Why is there not a lot of Ohio State quarterbacks in the pros? There were a lot of Michigan guys over the years, but not a lot of Ohio State guys. I’ll be sure to say hi to him after the game.”

As the legend goes, Brady wasn’t a highly touted prospect out of Michigan, falling to the sixth round — pick No. 199, and don’t you forget it — before New England scooped him up. A year later, Brady embarked on a now historic career that included seven Super Bowl wins, including six with the Patriots.

Now a Buccaneer looking to defend yet another title, Brady does have some revenge to earn this week.

A year ago, Brady found himself on the wrong end of an internet meme when he lost track of the game situation and turned the ball over on downs, believing it was only third down when it was, in fact, fourth down. The image of Brady holding up four fingers in disbelief spread virally online, capturing a moment of difficulty for the then-unproven Buccaneers.

“It seems like a long time ago, but actually it wasn’t that long ago,” Brady recalled Thursday. “Yeah, that hasn’t happened very often in my career; for some reason it happened in that moment. But yeah, that was a tough loss and I think we learned a lot from that loss last year.”

Brady went on to lead Tampa Bay on a white-hot playoff run that ended in a convincing win in Super Bowl LV.

If history serves as a predictor of things to come, a little confusion and an upset loss wouldn’t doom the Buccaneers, again one of a handful of contenders expected to vie for the NFC crown. The way the Buccaneers have played lately, they shouldn’t end up trying to explain themselves after Sunday’s meeting.

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