NFL superstar Tom Brady has confirmed he will leave the New England Patriots, the franchise he has played for since he was drafted in 2000.
The record-breaking six-time Super Bowl champion took to social media to reveal that he will be leaving Gillette Stadium after 20 years as his contract at Foxborough expires.
“To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organization… I couldn’t be the man I am today without the relationships you have allowed me to build with you,” he posted on Instagram.
“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.
“MA has been my home for twenty 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.
Brady had restructured his contract during last summer’s off-season and under the terms his new deal is permitted to speak to interested parties as of Monday.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft told ESPN: “Tommy initiated contact last night and came over. We had a positive, respectful discussion. It’s not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son.”
Brady was the 199th overall pick by the Patriots out of the University of Michigan as successor to Drew Bledsoe and is now regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
He played in nine Super Bowls, lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018, when he became the oldest player to win a Super Bowl ring – he was also the league’s MVP on three separate occasions.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Chargers are reportedly the two teams leading the race to sign Brady while his departure leaves a huge void for New England and Head coach Bill Belichick to fill.
A host of quarterbacks, including Philip Rivers and Jameis Winston, are now available as free agents, while Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton has also been linked with a move to the Patriots.