Bill Belichick reminds Patriots to pretend they’re excited when Tom Brady gets back

FOXBOROUGH, MA — Bill Belichick congratulated his team on a 27–0 win over the Texans on Thursday night, telling his players that they dominated on offense, defense, special teams and at the line of scrimmage.

“You guys know me, I’m rarely satisfied,” said the head coach. “But I don’t have much to complain about tonight. Let’s just keep up that kind of performance and try to improve on it. Really, the only thing I can address— and I know it’s been on all of our minds — is the Tom [Brady] situation. He’ll be back in 11 days. And while we’re just as good without him, he’ll want to feel needed. So please try to think about ways to do that, okay? Be polite. Give him high-fives if he requests them, okay? Give a little laugh to his awful jokes. Tell him his lady shoes look good. He may not have a long-term future here, but we’ve got to deal with him at least for the rest of this year and let’s try to make that as easy as possible.”

Brady has proven to be a system quarterback during his four-game suspension, as Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett — young quarterbacks who never previously started in the NFL — stepped in and won with ease while the Patriots offense has average 27 points per game, right in line with the offenses Brady has led throughout his career.

“He’s going to be expecting this warm welcome and, well … it’s going to be hard,” said wide receiver Julian Edelman. “Here’s a guy making big money who it turns out we really don’t need. What if we invested his contract into other positions? Then how good would we be? But I’m still going to give him a hug and say ‘glad you’re back’ because he’s a longtime friend. I just hope he thinks it’s sincere.”

If Brady’s wife is any indication, concerns about his place on the team have also hit the Brady-Bundchen household. The supermodel left a cryptic Instagram post Thursday night alongside a photo of the quarterback laying in the fetal position in bed: “Those who are supposed to be your friends, your teammates, moving on like you were never there don’t know the hurt they cause. They don’t have to look into the teary eyes of a sobbing Tommy every night.”