Tom Brady leaves Patriots: Bill Belichick 'will always have a great relationship' with QB
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has paid tribute to quarterback Tom Brady, who is departing New England after two decades.
Bill Belichick stressed he "will always have a great relationship" with Tom Brady after it was confirmed the quarterback will leave the New England Patriots.
Brady and Belichick enjoyed a hugely successful two-decade run as head coach and quarterback in New England, winning six Lombardi Trophies and reaching the Super Bowl on nine occasions.
Yet while Belichick will be back on the New England sideline in 2020, 42-year-old Brady will be elsewhere having confirmed he will be signing elsewhere in free agency.
There have been murmurings that the two have not always seen eye to eye in recent years, yet Belichick paid a glowing tribute to the outgoing Brady in an official statement from the Patriots.
"Tom was not just a player who bought into our programme, he was one of its original creators," Belichick said.
"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.
"Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation. 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. With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone's adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.
"Examples of Tom's greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted. 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."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who, like Belichick, held his post when Brady was drafted in 2000, admitted it had been his wish to see the quarterback retire in New England.
"I love Tom like a son and I always will," Kraft said.
"He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. 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.
"Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality."
Kraft added: "There simply will never be another Tom Brady."Published 17 Mar 2020, 20:44 IST