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Tom Brady feels for old buddy Matt Cassel

11.16.11 at 4:16 pm ET
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The Broncos beat up Matt Cassel and the Chiefs last Sunday, ruining Cassel's chance for a return to Foxboro. (AP)

FOXBORO — It is painfully ironic that Matt Cassel will miss Monday night’s game at Gillette Stadium against the team that gave him a chance at fame and fortune.

Everyone remembers the last time the Patriots played the Chiefs.

It was Opening Day 2008 and Bernard Pollard ran into the left knee of Tom Brady in the first quarter, knocking the QB out of the game and ending his season. Enter Matt Cassel. The former USC backup to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart stepped in and won the game, 41-38, and led the Patriots to 11 wins, only to miss the playoffs.

That season earned him a six-year, $63 million contract, with $28 million guaranteed. It’s a deal he signed before the 2009 season with Scott Pioli and the Chiefs, after New England traded him and Mike Vrabel to KC for a ’09 second-round pick.

But the dreams of coming back to New England on Monday night and playing on that same field ended last Sunday when he broke a bone in his right hand, very possibly ending his season, and handing the reigns over to Tyler Palko. Cassel had surgery this week and there is still hope the Chiefs signal-caller could return.

So, is Brady disappointed Cassel isn’t going to play this week given the friendship between the two?

“Well, just for him being injured,” Brady said. “It sucks to be injured. There’s nobody that goes through a football season and doesn’t get injured – you just hope it isn’t really a permanent injury. He’s a tough guy – he’s as tough as anybody I’ve ever been around. I was disappointed for him that he won’t be able to be out there. I obviously have plenty of things that I need to worry about with our offense. It’s a very good team.”

Brady is going to be more concerned with Romeo Crennel, who knows Brady as well as anyone. Brady knows Crennel will be more than prepared for the challenge on Monday night.

“Defensively, they’re very well coached. We’ve been around Romeo [Romeo Crennel] for a long time so we have a decent understanding of what he does but we haven’t played these guys in awhile. They have some very good players defensively. We need really a good week so we can go out there and be very well prepared and play with confidence, play with anticipation and try to go out there and execute well.”

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