FOXBORO, Mass. — There’s a legendary, championship ring-wearing elephant in the room this week at Gillette Stadium, but Patriots players aren’t running from it.

New England will honor Tom Brady during Sunday’s home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Details on the pomp and circumstance are scarce, but there’s no doubt it will be an emotionally charged start to the season for a Patriots team under immense pressure and scrutiny.

But players — especially Mac Jones — answered questions about the NFL legend head-on early in the week, a trend that continued Wednesday when Rhamondre Stevenson was asked to provide a Brady performance that comes first to mind.

“It’s a bunch of moments,” Stevenson said during a news conference. “It’s a bunch of moments. He’s the GOAT; I watched him growing up all the time. So many different games, so many different Super Bowls. It’s a bunch. I could be up here talking to you forever.”

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On the upcoming ceremony, Stevenson added: “I think everyone is excited for him coming back and it being in Gillette Stadium. So, very excited for not only us, but just the fans and everybody in the New England area.”

Photos of Brady are everywhere at One Patriot Place; you can’t avoid them. Stevenson certainly couldn’t on the way to his media availability.

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“Every single day,” he said. ” … Just walking down here, I probably walked past him five times.”

After Monday’s practice, a trio of players were asked for their thoughts on Brady and what will be a raucous atmosphere at Gillette Stadium. All offered similar answers but also made sure to keep the focus on the task at hand.

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WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: “This place is built off of championships, its foundation. I’m sure the crowd’s gonna be rocking. In preseason they were, so I’m just excited to play my first game.”

CB Myles Bryant: “I think it’s pretty. I haven’t met Tom. I looked up to him my whole life, watching him play. So, I think it’ll be pretty cool. But we got a game to go out there and play.”

TE Mike Gesicki: “I’ve played here as an opponent plenty of times and it’s an unbelievable atmosphere. So, it’s gonna be super cool to be on the right side of the crowd this time. So, I’m really looking forward to it and Gillette Stadium’s definitely always rocking. It’s gonna be exciting.”

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Of course, the Patriots dealt with similar hysteria two years ago when Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invaded Foxboro for an early October matchup. And while New England suffered a 19-17 defeat, the game was competitive, and the group’s ability to ignore the noise was impressive.

Perhaps that experience will help Jones and his teammates Sunday night. Their heads will need to be in the right place if they’re to have any chance of beating the defending NFC champions.

The Patriots and Eagles are scheduled to kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images