In a lengthy essay for The Players’ Tribune, Tom Brady expressed gratitude to Patriots fans, teammates, coaches and owner Robert Kraft for his success in New England; but as fans were quick to point out, he neglected to thank Bill Belichick by name and may have directed a parting shot at his now-former boss.
Brady recently signed a two-year, $50 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ending his time with the Patriots after years of reported friction between him and Belichick, with whom he’s won six Super Bowls.
Although Brady did not criticize anyone in the piece, let alone Belichick, he did explain why he signed in Tampa, writing: ‘They want to listen to what I have to say.’
Brady specifically thanked his friend and mentor Robert Kraft (left) in the farewell note
Brady and Belichick had some reported friction after winning six Super Bowls together
‘They’ve welcomed me as one of their own,’ Brady said of the Buccaneers. ‘They want to listen to what I have to say. I’m excited to be embraced fully for what I can bring to the Bucs. In turn I’m ready to embrace fully a team that is confident in what I do — and what I bring — and is willing to go on this ride with me.’
Brady’s only reference to Belichick came while describing the experience of being drafted in 2000. Whereas players who are picked in the first few rounds get a direct call from the coach, sixth-rounders like Brady are usually notified by an assistant.
‘By the way, in the sixth round it’s not like Coach Belichick himself was on the other end of the line,’ Brady wrote in his meandering piece.
The branded content served as an advertisement for Under Armour — one of the companies Brady endorses.
Last month, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suggested that there is more to the Brady-Belichick split than meets the eye.
‘I thought for sure he would go back,’ Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. ‘But sometimes, there might be deeper wounds than people might realize. I don’t know if that’s the case or not.’
Brady and Belichick were actually named to their second NFL All-Decade Team on Monday.
Some fans criticized Brady for the perceived slight directed at Belichick
Other fans who saw the quote as a shot at Belichick thought it was in good taste
To be clear, Brady does not thank anyone else by name besides Kraft, so it’s not certain that he intended Belichick’s omission as any slight.
Both Brady and Belichick have actually been respectful to each other since their split.
In a team statement, Belichick said it was a ‘privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years,’ while the quarterback specifically thanked the coach in his ‘farewell’ address.
Brady’s father Tom Sr. later told the ‘Raising Fame’ podcast that his son did not get divorced from Belichick, instead describing the situation as two people simply parting ways.
‘Bill’s got a lot of responsibilities to keep the Patriots on track,’ Brady Sr. said. ‘That is a bigger responsibility than keeping Tommy under the hood. Both of them are mature individuals. I really respect Bill’s decision and respect Tommy’s decision as well. It’s OK to take different paths. You don’t have to stay joined at the hip.’
For the second time, Tom Brady was named to an NFL All-Decade team on Monday
As for Monday’s essay, Brady did give a window into his motivation for switching teams.
‘As I said before, playing for one team for 20 years has been an amazing ride and experience,’ he wrote. ‘But doing the same thing year after year brings its own challenges. A familiar rhythm can be comforting and great. But it can also make you lose sight of other rhythms, newer ones that remind you of everything that hasn’t been done yet.
‘One isn’t necessarily better than another — they’re different, is all. Playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a change, a challenge, an opportunity to lead and collaborate, and also to be seen and heard. And I know my time there will be as amazing in its own way as what came before.
The majority of Brady’s piece was spent describing his experience in New England, where his children Jack, Benny and Vivian grew up.
‘But more than any one physical place, it’s the relationships I made in New England that I’ll miss the most,’ Brady wrote. ‘Of course, it starts with the entire New England Patriots organization, and Robert Kraft and the entire Kraft family.
‘It extends to countless other individuals who played such a valuable role in my 20 years as a Patriot. Teammates and coaches, past and present. Old friends, new friends, the neighbors we went trick-or-treating with every year. But mostly, I’ll miss the fans.’
The majority of Brady’s piece was spent describing his experience in New England, where his children Jack, Benny and Vivian grew up