Quarterback Tom Brady has confirmed his departure from the New England Patriots, after spending 20 years with the franchise.
Having met with Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday evening, the 42-year-old announced on social media that he would move on from New England and continue his career with another team.
The six-time Super Bowl champion helped the Patriots to 13 division titles, 17 Playoff appearances and was also named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player three times.
Brady announces departure from New England Patriots
Brady played in nine Super Bowls in total and in 2018, his final one with the franchise, he became the oldest player to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The quarterback, whose final play for the Patriots was a pick-six, still threw for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2019 and said it is “time for me to open a new stage of my life and career.”
“To all my team-mates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organisation... I couldn’t be the man I am today without the relationships you have allowed me to build with you,” he posted.
“Our team has always set a great standard in pro sports and I know it will continue to do just that. Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments.”
Brady went on in his statement to say that he has “nothing but love and gratitude” for his time in New England and that the “support has been overwhelming”.
Patriots have a huge hold to fill this offseason
Back in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady was picked with the 199th overall pick by New England, with the quarterback coming out of the University of Michigan.
The departure of the veteran leaves Head Coach Bill Belichick with a big problem this offseason. Do the Patriots go into the Draft looking for their next quarterback or pick up someone in free agency such as Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton or even Jameis Winston.
In a statement published by the Patriots, Owner Kraft said: “We love each other very much. He’s like a family member. This is very sad because he’s like a son to me.
“This is not the way I wanted it to end, but in life, people need to be free to realize what’s important to them. I respect him so much. It was a sad, loving discussion.
“I thought he was coming over as he has the last 10 years to quietly get things done. This is a big picture. I just don’t think he was going to be happy staying in our system at this point.”