Growing up in Texas and playing for the state's most popular school, you would think Malcom Brown would be excited to be returning to the Lone Star State this weekend.
"It's a business trip," the grim-faced rookie defensive lineman said this week.
Brown claimed he was not a Cowboys fan as a child, either, although he lived much closer to Houston than Dallas in his hometown of Brenham.
"I'm a Patriots fan now," he added with a slight smirk.
Perhaps being a rookie, Brown was just overly concerned about saying something on the record that could be taken out of context or used as bulletin board material.
Thankfully, some of the veterans on the Patriots roster are more forthcoming. Like wide receiver Danny Amendola, a native of The Woodlands, Texas, just north of Houston, and tight end Scott Chandler of Southlake, a Dallas suburb.
"I was an Oilers fan, and then they moved. Broke my heart," Amendola lamented. "And then the Cowboys were winning all those Super Bowls [in the early-mid-1990s]. That's when I really kind of gravitated toward them."
Both Amendola and Chandler are fielding extra ticket requests this week from family and friends who want to see them play in person.
"It's always fun to have an easy drive for family," said Chandler. "I'm going to have a bunch of friends from high school for the game, so, it'll be cool."
"Feels good," echoed Amendola, "getting back to see the family and play in front of them."
Both men spent brief portions of their early NFL careers with the Cowboys, but they have quite different memories of their time at Valley Ranch.
"It was a great experience. Fun to play for the hometown team," recalled Chandler. "You know, I think that being able to move to Buffalo from there was really, probably the best thing for my career. It was tough being behind [Pro Bowl tight end Jason] Witten, but that time was really good for me. I learned a lot from him and from the coaches there. It was a fun time for me."
"I remember they cut me. That's what I remember," Amendola remarked. It was evident by his demeanor that he still feels the sting of that decision and is using it as motivation for Sunday's game.
"Absolutely," he confirmed. "Absolutely."