After two decades of dominance with the New England Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, March 18, concluding his illustrious Patriots career. After being drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, Brady became the first quarterback in NFL history, and just the fourth player overall, to play 20 seasons with one team. He was an 18-year team captain and led the Patriots to the playoffs 17 times, including an unprecedented nine Super Bowl appearances. He departs as a six-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Super Bowl MVP.
PATRIOTS CHAIRMAN AND CEO ROBERT KRAFT ON TOM BRADY'S PATRIOTS CAREER:
"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? 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. 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.
"When Tom arrived in New England as an unheralded, sixth-round pick, no one could have imagined the fairytale story that would be written, the records that would be broken or the joy he would bring to an entire region. He leaves 20 years later as the winningest quarterback in NFL history with six Super Bowl victories, nine AFC titles and 17 division championships. He has been an exemplary teammate and leader. There simply will never be another Tom Brady. 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."
PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK ON TOM BRADY'S PATRIOTS CAREER:
"Tom was not just a player who bought into our program. 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.
"Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation. 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.
"Examples of Tom's greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted. We witnessed how he prepared when he wasn't playing, how he performed when he got his opportunity, what he did to continuously improve, his leadership, his mindset, the example he set, and, of course, the person he is. 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."
STATEMENT FROM PATRIOTS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR AND QUARTERBACKS COACH JOSH MCDANIELS:
"I have so much gratitude for Tom Brady. He has made me a better coach and more importantly a better person. He has always been genuinely kind and caring to me and my family. Yet at the same time, I have never met anyone as demanding and relentless in his pursuit of improvement, perfection and championships. His work ethic and drive propelled our offense and our team to perform at the very highest level throughout his career. He represented all of us with class and integrity. We will miss his passion and intensity, his character and wisdom, and his preparation and diligence. I will miss all the meetings, FaceTimes, emails and texts in our pursuit of a good play. He always performed his best in the most critical times under the most significant pressure. I have never coached a tougher player in my career.
Although I feel a great sadness knowing that he is leaving the Patriots, I am grateful for the years we were together and beyond blessed to call him my friend. He has made an indelible impact on my life and career and I will forever be in his debt.
He defined what it means to be a "Patriot." He is the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL. I wish him nothing but great happiness and success in all that he does. There will never be another Tom Brady.