Tom Brady is leaving the New England Patriots.
The 42-year-old quarterback who won six Super Bowls with coach Bill Belichick wrote a thank-you message to New England fans and indicated he will not return to the Patriots.
“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments,” Brady wrote.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers are pursuing the soon-to-be free agent, reports said Monday. The Tennessee Titans were believed to be in the running before they re-signed Ryan Tannehill to a big contract.
When the league year officially begins Wednesday, it will be the first time in Brady’s career that he is a free agent.
Brady’s message also thanked Belichick by name, along with his teammates, other coaches and New England executives.
“You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you,” he wrote. “And Pats Nation will always be a part of me. I don’t know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career.”
You can read Brady’s entire message to Patriots fans below:
Later Tuesday morning - and amid speculation from NFL media that the Patriots lowballed Brady in contract talks - Belichick and Patriots chairman Robert Kraft released statements thanking Brady for his 20 years of success in New England.
“Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation,” Belichick wrote in part. “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.”
“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?” Kraft wrote. “I love Tom like a son and I always will … 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.”
Kraft added he looked forward to being able to bring Brady back to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to celebrate his legacy and career with the Patriots.