Brady announced his departure from New England Tuesday on social media. The six-time Super Bowl champion has spent his entire 20-year NFL career with the AFC East franchise. Brady made his debut with the Patriots in 2000.
Brady, 42, thanked fans, teammates, coaches, the Patriots’ front office and others before announcing he was leaving the team.
“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible team accomplishments,” Brady wrote.
“I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and every one of you, and to have the memories we’ve created together.”
Brady completed 60.8 percent of his throws for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 16 starts last season. The future Hall of Famer also led the team to a 12-4 record. Brady was 219-64-0 during his regular-season tenure with the Patriots. He posted a 30-11 record in the post-season.
“Tom was not just a player who bought into our program,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a news release. “He was one of its original creators. Tom lived and perpetuated our culture. On a daily basis, he was a tone setter and a bar raiser.
“He won championships in three of his first four years on the field and in three of his final six seasons with us, while competing for championships in most every season in between. This is a credit to Tom’s consistency and what separates him. He didn’t just perform. He didn’t just win. He won championships over and over again.”
Brady did not mention the team for whom he will play in 2020. He has been heavily linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers. Sources told NFL Network that the Chargers and Buccaneers have both made “strong” contract offers to Brady. The Buccaneers’ offer was believed to be for at least $30 million, according to the report.
Brady met with Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday night at Kraft’s home to talk about his decision to leave the team.
“I love Tom like a son and I always will,” Kraft said. “He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. I had hoped this day would never come, but rather that Tom would end his remarkable career in a Patriots uniform after yet another Super Bowl championship.
“Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality. While sad today, the overwhelming feeling I have is appreciation for his countless contributions to our team and community.”
The Patriots selected former Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Cody Kessler is the only other quarterback on the Patriots’ roster for 2020.
“Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom,” Belichick said. “He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time.”