Tom Brady opens up about Bill Belichick, when he knew Patriots career was over

Tom Brady opens up about Bill Belichick, when he knew Patriots career was over

Tom Brady officially announced he was leaving the New England Patriots on March 17 and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on March 20. 

But he had already made up his mind seven months before that.

That's what the 42-year-old quarterback admitted Wednesday in a candid interview with SiriusXM's Howard Stern, revealing when he knew it was time to leave the Patriots.

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"I don’t think there was a final, final decision until it happened," Brady told Stern. "But I probably knew before the start of last season that it was my last year. I knew that it was just -- our time was coming to an end."

Brady signed a contract extension with New England last August that allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020 for the first time in his career. He also put his family's Brookline, Mass., house on the market around the same time, and apparently those actions weren't just coincidence.

So, what made Brady decide to leave? Was it his relationship with Bill Belichick? Did he feel Belichick didn't appreciate him and want to prove to the world he could win without the Patriots head coach?

"I never cared about legacy. I could give a s— about (that)," Brady said. "So, why would I choose a different place? It’s just time. I don’t know what to say other than that.

"I had accomplished everything I could in two decades with an incredible organization and an incredible group of people. That will never change. No one can ever take that away from me. No one can take those Super Bowl championships or experiences away from us."

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Brady also bristled at those who debate whether Brady or Belichick would have had more success without the other.

"I think it’s a pretty s---- argument that people would say that," Brady said. "I can’t do his job and he can’t do mine. So, the fact that you could say, ‘Would I be successful without him?’ The same level of success, I don’t believe I would have been.

"But I feel the same and vice versa, as well. To have him allow me to be the best I can be, I’m grateful for that, and I very much believe he feels the same about me because we’ve expressed that to each other."

Stern pushed Brady on his relationship with Belichick, asking the QB if there wasn't part of him that felt Belichick didn't fully support him when the head coach drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 and made other plans for the future at quarterback.

"I think he has a lot of loyalty,' Brady said. "He and I have had a lot of conversations that nobody has ever been privy to, and nor should they be. So many wrong assumptions were made about our relationship and how he felt about me. I know genuinely how feels about me.

" … I got into unchartered territory as an athlete because I started to break the mold of what so many other athletes experienced. I was an older athlete, and he started to plan for the future, which is what his responsibility is, and I don’t fault him for that. That’s what he should be doing."

Brady also said he got emotional when informing Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft he was leaving the team in March, and that he cried during their phone conversation.

Brady touched on several other topics in the wide-ranging interview, but if there's a takeaway for Patriots fans, it's that there was no way the GOAT was coming back to New England this offseason.

Tom Brady takes shot at Charles Barkley after 'The Match'

Tom Brady takes shot at Charles Barkley after 'The Match'

Tom Brady engaged in plenty of trash-talking with his opponents Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods during "The Match" on Sunday. But they weren't the only ones going back-and-forth with the six-time Super Bowl champion.

NBA legend Charles Barkley was a commentator for the charity golf match and didn't hold back from letting Brady hear all about his lackluster performance through the first few holes. On the seventh hole, however, the ex-New England Patriots quarterback birdied a par-5 with what was unquestionably the best shot of the day to silence Barkley. 

The real mic drop from Brady came after the match, though, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB jabbed Barkley for his inability to win a championship during his NBA career.

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Boom, roasted.

Of course, the trash-talking was all just good fun. And it provided phenomenal entertainment while those involved in "The Match" helped raise more than $20 million to go toward COVID-19 relief efforts.

'Man In the Arena' producer sheds light on what to expect from Tom Brady documentary

'Man In the Arena' producer sheds light on what to expect from Tom Brady documentary

Last week it was revealed Tom Brady will have his own Last Dance type documentary titled Man In the Arena.

ESPN will air the nine-episode series, with each episode covering one of the ex-New England Patriots quarterback's nine Super Bowl runs. Gotham Chopra, a name Pats fans may recognize as the director of Tom vs. Time, is a producer for the docuseries which is set to premiere in 2021.

Chopra recently caught up with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated's MMQB to chat about the upcoming documentary and what fans should expect.

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“It’s not Tom Brady’s Last Dance,” Chopra told Breer. “It’s not that. That may or may not exist 20 years from now, I don’t know. There’s this sort of immediacy to this.… The premise [of The Last Dance] was telling stories about the seasons, whereas [Brady’s], it does feel a little bit more real time. Tom continues to be an active player. So the idea is, ‘O.K., let’s talk about these nine seasons, this incredible body of work across 20 years, and how it’s still sort of affecting him.’”

“Jordan’s sitting on a couch, looking back, literally looking at stuff on the iPad, reminiscing about things. Tom’s kind of, just when you’re talking to him, it’s still very fresh, because he’s still processing a lot of things that may have happened across a season.”

As for who else will make appearances in the series, that remains to be seen. Chopra notes the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the interview process, but important figures in Brady's career such as Bill Belichick and Drew Bledsoe have already been reached out to.

“This is inside the mind of Tom,” Chopra said. “So we’ll ask Tom, I’ll use the most obvious one, 2001, What was it like working with Drew [Bledsoe] that season? Got it, now we go talk to Drew, and get his perspective on that. So yeah, there are other voices, other players, coaches, etc., and people off the field that had a lot of influence across those specific seasons that we’re trying to get. Now, we’ve got the added layer of complexity of getting to those people, like everyone else in the world, we’re dealing with that.”

Along with the Super Bowl appearances, Chopra says Man In the Arena will cover both the "Spygate" and "Deflate-gate" controversies. As for whether Brady's 2020 campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be included in the series, Chopra says there are no plans for that as of now.