PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Colts’ defensive end Kwity Paye may not want to say it too loud in the locker room, but he grew up a Patriots’ fan.

“It’s like 30 minutes down the road from me,” Paye told CBS4 on Wednesday. “Everybody was a Patriots’ fan. That’s when Tom Brady was there, that whole Patriots’ era. It’s greatness that we witnessed growing up.”

Paye was prep star at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island, less than an hour drive from the Patriots’ home in Foxborough.

“Everybody knows Kwity,” said Keith Croft, Paye’s coach at Bishop Hendricken. “Everybody knows his story, no matter who you talk to in the area, so everybody in Rhode Island is so proud to see him playing.”

The next time Paye will play will be Sunday when the Colts take on the Patriots.

“The storyline of him playing the Patriots is even greater because it’s Patriot Nation around here,” Croft added. “So it should be a lot of fun.”

Paye helped lead Bishop Hendricken to three state championships, earning all-state honors twice and a scholarship to Michigan.

“I texted him and told him how proud we were of everything he’s accomplished in representing our school, our state and our community,” Croft said. “It’s just really cool to be part of that journey and see it up close.”

Croft will be watching Sunday’s game from the comforts of home, but several friends and family will be there for Paye’s homecoming. He had more ticket requests than he could fulfill.

“I turned my phone off,” Paye joked. “If you need tickets, hit Ticketmaster. I don’t have them.”