Fans welcome Patriots back to Gillette


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Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH – Despite last night’s devastating loss in the Super Bowl, more than 200 devoted fans erupted in cheers when the New England Patriots pulled into Gillette Stadium this afternoon on six team buses.

As players and coaches retrieved their baggage from the buses, fans could be heard shouting words of encouragement, including “Don’t worry, Welker, you did good,” A reference to wide receiver Wes Welker, who dropped a key pass late in the game.

A handful of players and coaches waved to the crowd, including Welker, head coach Bill Belichick, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was not seen coming off the buses.

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Many of the fans wore team attire and had waited for the Pats for several hours, including Gabriel Pelletier, 42, of Lunenburg and his wife, Nancy, 40.

The couple arrived in the parking lot at about 9:30 this morning and said that they support the team no matter what.

“They’re the only team I know of that stick together as a team,” said Gabriel, who displayed the Patriots logo that he has tattooed on his right shoulder. “Belichick and Brady, they’re the best coach and quarterback [combination] ever.”

Nancy Pelletier wore a Patriots winter hat with long strings and was also bundled up in a Patriots blanket. She said that while the loss was difficult to take, her enthusiasm for the team was undiminished.

“They’ll try again next year,” she said. “We’ll be here rooting for them again.”