Brady tells us all it’s over for him in New England
The unthinkable in the minds of New England Patriots fans took place on Tuesday.
The 20-year Tom Brady era is over. Done. Finished.
Many woke up to a social media message from beloved quarterback Brady, basically the greatest quarterback of all time with six Super Bowl rings, saying he was leaving the Patriots.
To go where? The majority of media speculation and reports — especially from ESPN — say that the 42-year-old, who turnes 43 in August, will accept a multi-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth about $30 million per. Other teams seem to be linked to other quarterbacks. The Los Angeles Chargers were thought to be a contender but reports say they were told otherwise and are hoping to work out a trade with Carolina for Cam Newton.
Brady, who becomes a free agent today at 4 p.m but has been able since noon Monday to negotiate with teams, made his announcement on twitter, thanking the fans and the organization, and the Patriots followed with statements by team owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick.
Most telling were Kraft’s words.
“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,” Kraft said. “Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality.”
Brady reportedly met with Kraft at the owner’s Brookline, Mass.home for a few hours late on Monday.
“I don’t know what my football future holds,” Brady wrote as part of a good-bye to New England fans, “but its time for me to open a new stage for my life and career.”
Reportedly, there were no substantive negotiations between the Patriots and Brady – the tipping point reportedly was a phone call last week between he and Belichick in which only a one-year deal was offered — and he will officially become a free agent at 4 p.m. Wednesday. But during the NFL’s legal tampering period, he can negotiate with teams. It didn’t help the Patriots chances that the Saints gave Drew Brees a two year deal at $25 per and another longtime vet, Phillip Rivers, agreed to a one-year deal with the Colts for a reported one year, $25 million. Brady made $23 million last year and reports were he was told the Belichick he’d have to takke less money on a one-year deal.
Brady’s statement read as follows:
“I wanted to thank you to all the incredible fans and Patriots supporters, MA has been my home for 20 years. It has truly been the happiest two decades I could have envisioned in my life and I have nothing but love and gratitude for my time in New England.
“The support has been overwhelming – I wish every player could experience it. My childeren were born and raised here and you always embraced this California kid as your own. I love your commitment and loyalty to your teams and winning for our city means more than you will ever know. I can’t thank you enough for the support of our team. The packed training camp and sold out stadiums and mostly the victory parades. I have been so blessed to share them with you all. I tried to represent us always in the best and most honorable way, and I fought hard with my teammates to help bring victory and triumph even in the most dire situations. You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you. And Pats Nation will always be a part of me.”
Then Brady, at the end, added words that cut into the hearts of Patriot fans:
“I don’t know what my football future holds but its time for me to open a new stage for my life and career. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will always love you and what we have shared – a lifetime full of memories.”
“How do I possibly sum up the depth of my gratitude to Tom Brady for what he’s given us these past 20 years, or the sadness I feel knowing it’s ending?,” Kraft said in his statement. “I love Tom like a son and I always will. He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. While sad today, the overwhelming feeling I have is appreciation for his countless contributions to our team and community. …
Belichick was even more gushing in his statement, part of which, including the end, read as follows:
“Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation,” Belichick said.
“Tom’s success as a player and his character as a person are exceptional. Nothing about the end of Tom’s Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was. With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone’s adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years. …
“I am extremely grateful for what he did for our team and for me personally…
“Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom. He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time.”
Brady’s accomplishments are too numerous to mention them all. He guieded the Patriots to nine Super Bowls, six Super Bowl championships, was the SB MVP four times, The Patriots made the playoffs 17 times in his 20 years with the team – the only times they didn’t were when he was a rookie in 2000, the year after they won their first Super Bowl title (2002 season), and the year his season ended in the season opener in 2008. They played in an unprecedented eight straight AFC Championship games, and he was the first QB in NFL history to play 20 years with the same team, and the fourth player overall.
In his Patriots career, Brady completed 6,377 of 9, 988 passing attempts for 74,571 yards and 541 touchdowns with 179 interceptions. Unfortunately, his last Patriots pass was a pick six late in the Patriots Wild Card playoff loss to Tennessee. His 219 games won are the most by an NFL QB, and he is second all-time in career regular season passing and touchdowns. He is tops all-time in postseason completions, passing yards and TDs.
The signs Brady would leave came when in August he took a three-year extension but with the final two years voided, and one that prevented the Patriots from franchising him so he could automatically become a free agent when the 2020 league year commences, which is today.
“There simply will never be another Tom Brady,” Kraft said in conclusion “I now look forward to the day we can bring him back home to New England to celebrate his Patriots career, his endless achievements and his legacy as the greatest of all time. I love him very much.”
But, it seems, not enough to keep him in a Patriots uniform.