Tom Brady to go up against former Patriots teammate as Buccaneers play Washington in playoffs

Tom Brady will get to play a former backup quarterback Saturday night when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go up against the Washington Football Team in their NFC wild-card playoff game.

Washington announced hours before kickoff that Taylor Heincke will play in place of an injured Alex Smith. It will be Heincke’s first start since 2018 when he was with the Carolina Panthers. At that time, he was playing for Ron Rivera who is the current coach of Washington.

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Heincke was briefly on the New England Patriots during his short NFL career. The Patriots signed him to the practice squad in September 2017 after the Minnesota Vikings cut him. However, Heincke’s time with the Patriots ended the next month.

Heincke has played in one game this season – in Week 16 against the Panthers. He was 12-for-19 with 137 passing yards and a touchdown.

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Leading up to Washington’s Week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Heincke was speculated to be the starter in place of an injured Smith. He revealed that he was taking math classes at Old Dominion University before he was asked to join Washingto.

Heinicke was more focused on his online courses – Mathematics in Nature, Number Theory and Discrete Mathematics, Applied Numerical Methods and Partial Differential Equations – when he got the call in December to serve as Washington’s “quarantine quarterback” just in case anything went wrong.

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Heinicke, who was in the XFL earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic shut the league down, picked up an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ in two of his final exams, but needed to put two more on hold because of his new position with Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.