Patriots

Patriots

Bill Belichick isn't the sentimental type.

But the New England Patriots head coach knows greatness when he sees it, and that certainly was the case with Tom Brady.

The longtime Patriots quarterback announced Tuesday he's leaving the team when free agency begins.

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Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft both confirmed this development Tuesday by releasing glowing statements about Brady.

Here's Belichick's full statement, in which the head coach lauds his quarterback with unprecedented praise and asserts that Brady is "the greatest quarterback of all-time:"

"Tom was not just a player who bought into our program. He was one of its original creators. 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."

 

Belichick drafted Brady 199th overall during his first year with the Patriots in 2000, and the duo has won six Super Bowl title since. Regardless of the differences they may have had, there's clearly an enduring mutual respect.

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