Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke to the media today via a conference call. Brady started by discussing how big it is for him to return to the Bay Area to play the 49ers. After all, he is from there and was a huge 49ers fan growing up. Brady said that he had to arrange to get more tickets for family and friends than he has ever had to. He said that he may never have another chance to play in the Bay Area again.

Brady was asked if there were any 49ers fans remaining in his family. "I don't know," Brady said while laughing. "We don't talk about the 49ers anymore. That's all we ever used to talk about." Brady was asked if that ended in about the year 2000 when he was drafted by New England. "Yeah, we were part of the 49er Faithful for a long time."

"I've never had a chance to play in front of my family like this," Brady said. "I've never had a chance to play in front of my friends. Growing up in the Bay Area and loving football, that was a great time for me to grow up. Seeing the success of the 49ers, the great quarterbacks Steve [Young] and Joe [Montana], what they were able to do. I was lucky to grow up in the Bay Area at that time."

Brady was told that the team would be honoring Eddie DeBatolo Jr. during the game and that Montana and Young might be there. "I didn't know that," Brady said. "If I ever have a chance to say 'hi' to those guys, I always take the opportunity because those are my idols. I love all those 49ers. Roger Craig and Tome Rathman, Jerry Rice, Fred Taylor, there were just so many year after year. The defensive players that they had. I was the biggest fan."

Brady said that he sees Young, who works for ESPN, the most and loves him, everything that he's about, the type of person he is, and the kind of player that he was.

Regarding the current 49ers defense, Brady said, "I think they have some very talented players. I think they're hungry and trying to find ways to win. It's tough losing in the NFL, but these guys are all supremely talented. They're in the NFL for a reason. They are very competitive in the secondary. They've had some injuries at linebacker, but those guys play hard. They really can power guys in the rush. They've got some good scheme stuff so we don't take anything lightly."

Brady was asked if he still carries a chip on his shoulder about being passed on by his hometown 49ers. "Yeah, I'll never forget, I worked out for the 49ers when I was coming out in 2000 and they, obviously, went in a different direction," Brady said. "I'm very happy where I ended up. I think I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time with the Patriots. I've played with so many great players over the years and I've played for – I feel – the best head coach ever."

A lot of people throw Brady's name in with Montana when discussing the greatest quarterback to play the game. "I don't ever see myself like him," Brady said. "He was so spectacular. I think he's in a league of his own."

"He was a winner," Brady continued while discussing Montana. "Every time he took the field, it felt like the 49ers were going to win. I remember rooting for that team when Joe was playing quarterback and you always felt that they were going to win no matter who they were playing, where they were playing at. The same when Steve took over. It was great to be a 49er fan at that time."

The 49ers and Patriots kick off at 1:25 p.m. PT on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.