Tom Brady is happy to be making a return to California — even if he has some bad blood with his hometown team.
"It will be great to go home and see a lot of people that I probably haven't seen in a long time, my aunts and uncles, and try to go win a football game," he said during a press conference on Thursday.
Brady, 45, a San Mateo native, attributed the 49ers as the driving force behind his passion for football. He reflected on sitting in the nosebleeds with his family at Candlestick Park but joked that the love went away after they didn't draft him — and then again when they opted against signing him as a free agent in 2020.
"I loved them through college, and then when they skipped over me six times I started hating the 49ers, and that's just the way it went down," he said.
Sunday's game will be the second time Brady plays against the team he grew up idolizing and still has a connection with to this day.
He explained: " I was supposed to go out there in '08 and we had it all set up. We were talking all offseason, my first time going out there, and then I tore my ACL in week one. So I had to wait another eight years; we went to the new stadium, so I never even got to play in Candlestick. And then I had the one experience, which was really fun. It was just great after the game. It was nice for my parents not to have to travel and go to a game for once. It was nice to go to them."
Brady's memories of his hometown also expand past the football field.
"I had so many friends growing up there," he stated. "Serra was a great baseball school and I loved baseball. I started playing football and fell in love with football because of the camaraderie of it all. I was always the kid that was trying to prove myself to everyone."
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Brady said that being a multi-sport athlete in high school helped him develop the work ethic the seven-time Super Bowl champion still carries today.
"I was really good basically at a lot of sports. I was really good in baseball, I threw the ball well, I hit the ball really well. I was really good in golf," he said. "I was good in any sport I was really good at. I'm good at ping point, I'm good at darts. I just can't run, and I can't jump. So running and jumping are a problem. So I always tried to work hard at those things."