Tom Brady, the NFL’s most successful quarterbacks of all time, is leaving the New England Patriots on good terms.
This was made clear on Tuesday when he announced his departure in a Twitter post entitled “Forever a Patriot”.
After famously being drafted in round six in 2000 as the 199th overall pick, Brady became the Patriots’ starting QB in his second season.
He immediately won Super Bowl XXXVI and also carried of the Bowl’s MVP honors.
A further five Super Bowl successes followed, with Brady the MVP in three of the games.
He will leave the Patriots after 19 seasons having thrown for 74,571 yards and 541 touchdowns in 285 appearances. These tallies have been topped only by Drew Brees.
Brady had only good things to say
The 42-year old Brady, a veteran of 19 seasons with the Patriots, had only good things to say in his ringing tribute.
In turn the Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head-coach Bill Belichick had only praise for the 6ft 4in quarterback who led them to an NFL record number of victories as a starter.
There were 249 in all and Kraft and Belichick shared all of them with Brady.
In his Twitter announcement Brady said: “This is to all my team-mates, coaches, executives and staff. It’s to Coach Belichick, RKK, the Kraft family and the entire organization.
“I want to say thank you for the past 20 years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values.
“I am grateful for all that you have taught me – I have learned from everyone. You all have allowed me to maximize my potential and that is all a player can ever hope for.
“I love you all for that”
“Everything we have accomplished brings me great joy and the lessons I have learned will carry on with me forever. I couldn’t be the man I am today without the relationships you have allowed me to build with you.
“I have benefited from all you have given me. I cherished every opportunity I had to be part of our team, and I love you all for that.
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 now take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible team accomplishments.
“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.”
After famously being drafted in round six in 2000 as the 199th overall pick, Brady became the Patriots’ starting QB in his second season and immediately won Super Bowl XXXVI, also claiming MVP honors.”
Belichick: ‘We’ll always have a great relationship’
In his tribute, Belichick stressed, “I will always have a great relationship” with Tom Brady.
“Tom was not just a player who bought into our program, he was one of its original creators,” Belichick said in an official statement from the Patriots.
“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. And he was always 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.”
Kraft, who was the Patriots owner when Brady was drafted in 2000, admitted it had been his wish to see the quarterback retire in New England.
Kraft: “I love Tom like a son”
“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.”
“There simply will never be another Tom Brady,” he added with some nostalgia.