A few words for the New England Patriots faithful,
As you may have heard, earlier this season, I announced that my playing days are over. Why now? Well, there comes a time when the body sends a clear message to the mind – it's time to move on. The reality is that I'm leaving both healthy and happy. Over the last few weeks I've been fortunate to thank so many people – my coaches through the years, my teammates, my family and many others. Today, I want to personally thank you, the tried and true New England fans.
Here, in New England, both loud and proud, the fans make a difference. I know that firsthand. You gave me a chance. From the beginning, this kid from Blackville, South Carolina felt as if he belonged. At every turn, you made me feel right at home. During good seasons and bad, I tried to win your respect, earn every yard, finish every play. Through the years, you connected with the person beneath the pads. I truly appreciate you sticking by me through it all. I'd also like to thank our ultimate fan who 14 years ago bought a struggling franchise, kept us here in New England, built the best stadium in the NFL, and invested in helping us become three-time champions.
As for what lies ahead, the playbook is wide open. I'm ready to tackle life's new challenges, as long as it doesn't mean I have to actually tackle someone. It was an honor and privilege to represent this team, and I feel so fortunate to have only one jersey hanging in my closet.
In the coming days, you will catch me next to you, in the stands, cheering for all of New England's great sports teams. You may see me adding my two cents to the games on television. You will definitely catch me out in the community, lending a hand to worthy charities and exploring some business options. I hope to face it all with the same energy and enthusiasm you inspired -- with two feet on the ground, in bounds, ready to hit the ground running.
Thanks for all that you have meant to me during these 15 years,