Tom Brady said goodbye to the New England Patriots in a series of posts on Instagram Tuesday, ending his 20-year run with the only NFL team he has ever known.
Brady did not say what team he will sign with for the upcoming season, but he did indicate he was leaving.
“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments,” he wrote.
Brady, 42, leaves New England with six Super Bowl rings and 41 playoff starts since 2001.
In recent years, Brady repeatedly said that his goal was to play until he was 45, but he and the Patriots couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract extension last offseason. That created a path for Brady to explore his options as a free agent, and after a 2019 season in which he showed visible frustration at times and the offensively-challenged Patriots uncharacteristically lost in the wild-card round of the playoffs, he told Westwood One radio that he was “open-minded about the process”.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who deferred to coach Bill Belichick in the negotiations, told NBC Sports he hoped Brady would play in New England or retire. Kraft, Belichick and Brady, widely seen as the three pillars of the Patriots’ unprecedented run of success since 2001.