The usually emotionless Bill Belichick broke character to say goodbye to Tom Brady.
“Examples of Tom’s greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted,” Belichick said in a statement after Brady announced he was leaving the franchise. “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.”
The four-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback announced his departure from New England after a 20-year tenure Tuesday. The question has long been asked whether Belichick and Brady would thrive without each other. We will soon get that answer, but for now Belichick is concentrating on how much the two accomplished together.
“Tom was not just a player who bought into our program,” Belichick said. “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.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft also released a heartfelt statement about Brady’s career in New England via the team. Noting that he’s always loved Brady like a son, Kraft admitted that he hoped this day would never come.
“Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality,” Kraft said. “While sad today, the overwhelming feeling I have is appreciating for his countless contributions to our team and community.”