Zdeno Chara and Tom Brady both have been Boston sports icons for well over a decade. During that time, they've expressed admiration for each other's games and maintained a close relationship.
So when Brady left the New England Patriots to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month, Chara was one of many saddened and surprised by the news. Still, the veteran Boston Bruins defenseman remains supportive of Brady's endeavors.
Chara shared his reaction to Brady's departure Thursday on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe."
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"I have to be honest, it was obviously a little mixed feelings," Chara said. "I was sad to see Tom leave. He meant so much to the Boston community, to the fans, to probably every little boy growing up.
"All these inspiring stories, and just a great example on and off the field. So yeah, it was kind of sad to see him leave Boston, but at the same time I’m very supportive of his decision and what he’s trying to go for, and I will always be his fan and his friend and wish him nothing but the best."
After Brady made his Bucs signing official, Chara bid farewell to the six-time Super Bowl champion with a heartfelt Instagram post.
Now that Brady is out of town, Chara is by far Boston's oldest athlete at 43 years old. Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is the second-oldest at 36. Like Brady, Chara doesn't plan to hang 'em up any time soon and doesn't have an age in mind for when he'll retire.
"I don’t like to put the numbers like that," Chara said. "You never know what’s going to happen. I want to play as long as I can and as long as I have fun and I love the game and I’m very passionate about the game, but we’ll see what’s going to happen."
Chara signed a one-year, $2 million extension with the Bruins last year.