After 20 seasons, quarterback Tom Brady has decided to part ways with the Patriots.
Brady, whom New England selected with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, announced via Instagram his “football journey will take place elsewhere.” Brady did not specify where he plans to play next season, though interested teams have included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Chargers.
The departure marks the end of an era for Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who won six Super Bowl titles together.
“To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organization,” Brady wrote Tuesday morning, “I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values.”
In a statement to ESPN, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “Tommy initiated contact [Monday] 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.”
With Brady gone, the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart features 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham and 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler. The team also holds 12 picks, including the 23rd overall, in the 2020 draft.
Read the entirety of Brady’s note, titled “FOREVER A PATRIOT,” below:
To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organization. I want to say thank you for the past twenty 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.
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 a 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 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 everyone of you, and to have the memories we’ve created together.