‘The best player in NFL history’: Here’s what Bill Belichick said in his statement about Tom Brady retiring

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft both issued statements regarding Tom Brady's retirement.

Belichick Tom Brady
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after defeating the Miami Dolphins 41-13 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Patriots coach Bill Belichick released a statement on Wednesday thanking former quarterback Tom Brady for everything he did in New England after Brady announced his retirement from football on Tuesday.

“I am privileged to have drafted and coached Tom Brady, the ultimate competitor and winner,” Belichick wrote. “Tom’s humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history. Tom consistently performed at the highest level against competition that always made him the number one player to stop. His pursuit of excellence was inspirational. Tom was professional on and off the field, and carried himself with class, integrity, and kindness. I thank Tom for his relentless pursuit of excellence and positive impact on me and the New England Patriots for 20 years.”


Belichick and Brady, of course, won six Super Bowls together in New England before Brady spent the final two seasons of his career in Tampa Bay. Rumors of a rift culminated in Brady’s exit in 2020, but when the Buccaneers traveled to Gillette Stadium in October, Brady praised the Patriots and suggested he might consider returning one day.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Brady said at the time. “Obviously, there could be an opportunity to come back here. So, we’ll see.”

Brady did not mention the Patriots in his retirement statement while thanking the Buccaneers profusely, which rubbed many observers the wrong way.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, meanwhile, issued a statement on Tuesday.

“I have the greatest respect for Tom personally and always will,” Kraft said. “His humility, coupled with his drive and ambition, truly made him special. I will always feel a close bond to him and will always consider him an extension of my immediate family.”


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