New England Patriots

It’s been over six months since New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walked off the Super Bowl LII without shaking the hand of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. On the losing end of a Super Bowl for the third time in his historic career, this one by a 41-33 final, people were quick to pile on Brady for what appeared to be poor sportsmanship.

But it’s not something that the 29-year-old Foles — still with the Eagles though Carson Wentz is expected to return to his starting role in 2018 — took personally or is sweating a day away from another meeting with Brady and the Patriots.

“It will happen when it happens,” Foles, who admitted that he has not heard from Brady since the Super Bowl, said when asked about reconnecting with Brady ahead of their preseason meeting. “We practiced with the Patriots several years ago, and I got to stand there and talk to Tom for quite a bit. He’s a great guy. I have all the respect in the world for him.”

Going back to ‘The Handshake Snub’ in Minnesota, it’s not hard to see why Tom Brady wanted to get the hell out of there.

It was in that game that the Patriot defense proved incapable of coming up with a single stop, leaving Brady in a situation in which his stat-line — 28-of-48 for 505 yards and three touchdowns — still wasn’t enough to will the Patriots to victory. Given the fact that Brady and the Patriot offense lost Brandin Cooks before the end of the first half andĀ stillĀ came within a touchdown and two-point conversion — a chance taken off the board when the Eagles forced a Brady fumble — of forcing overtime for the second Super Bowl in a row, that probably stung with the power of a thousand N.Y. Giant losses.

Known as the game’s fiercest competitor, Brady would have melted into U.S. Bank Stadium’s turf if possible.

And, again, Brady’s decision to skip handshakes is not something Foles considered to be anything even close to a slight.

“I think everyone’s making a really big deal out of this and it’s not a big deal at all,” Foles offered. “I’ve already talked to him before; he’s a guy I’ve always looked up to. You’ve got to admire someone who is probably the greatest ever and still going strong. I mean, even at his age (41) he seems to get better and better. I’ve already had a conversation with him before when we practiced, so if we have one in the future, we’ll have one and it will be cool.”

Perhaps Thursday at Gillette Stadium, and with Brady expected (or hoping, at the very least) to play at least one series as the Patriots continue their summertime dress rehearsals, will provide the perfect venue for such a conversation.