Tom Brady breaks Drew Brees’ record to become NFL’s all-time career passing yards leader – USA TODAY

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Not long into his highly anticipated return to the stadium he called home for 20 years, Tom Brady took care of a bit of NFL history. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback became the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing yardage in the first quarter of Sunday night’s game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Brady entered the night needing 68 yards to surpass Drew Brees’ high of 80,358. Brady set the mark on a 28-yard completion to wide receiver Mike Evans. 

Brees, the former New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers quarterback who set the mark in 2018, was on hand for Brady’s feat Sunday as part of NBC’s broadcast team. 

“I’ve always believed that records were meant to be broken,” Brees told USA TODAY Sports this week. “So I’ve had the chance to break quite a few as well. And I know the feeling. It’s special. … You think about the career that Tom Brady has had, and it’s pretty remarkable.”

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The record is the latest in a laundry list of historic accomplishments for Brady. The 44-year-old entered Sunday owning the all-time marks for touchdown passes (591), regular-season wins (232) and Super Bowl titles (seven).

Should the Buccaneers win Sunday, Brady would also join Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to beat all 32 teams.

Ahead of one of the most highly anticipated regular-season games in league history, Brady has said his rematch with longtime coach Bill Belichick and many of his former teammates wouldn’t be the time to “reminisce.” The three-time NFL MVP, however, sold “Return to Foxboro” shirts on his website and tweeted out a hype video Sunday morning.

“I still have a lot of great friends there, but they know I want to kick their butt this week,” Brady told reporters.

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.