FOXBORO -- For the first time in their legendary rivalry, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be facing Peyton Manning in a game not involving the Colts. Manning comes to Foxboro on Sunday with the 2-2 Broncos while Brady also leads his 2-2 team into action. Brady leads the all-time series between the two, 8-4, including 2-1 in the postseason.
"He's a friend of mine, so we don't talk much during the season, but I think he's someone that I've always looked up to and admired, and I respect the way he plays the position, and the way he works, the way he leads," Brady said Wednesday. "He's been a phenomenal player. We played against him for a long time against the Colts, it seemed like every year. You see a lot of those games, and obviously I've learned a lot from him."
Another familiar face will be snapping the ball to Manning as former Patriot Dan Koppen is the starting center for the Broncos.
"He's one my best pals," Brady said. "I'm happy he has the opportunity. He's a great friend of mine. We've had a lot of battles together. I miss having him around here. But that's part of this business. He moved on, and he has an opportunity. Hopefully we play well against him."
Brady was asked if Manning's health makes him think of his own football mortality.
"It's a great sport," Brady beamed. "I love coming to work every day. I love the challenge that the weeks bring, the mental challenge, the physical challenge. I love the training. I love being around my teammates. It's just not much else out there, other than my family. I think that's like the abyss. There's nothing else."
For more from the team of Chris Price and Mike Petraglia in Foxboro, visit the Patriots page at weei.com/patriots .