Tom Brady refused to take any shots at the New England Patriots on Tuesday when the veteran quarterback was introduced as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers player for the first time during a media conference call.
Brady consistently took the high road when asked about his recent departure from the Patriots, with whom he spent the first 20 years of his career and won six Super Bowl championships.
Two questions asked were when, in his mind, did he officially cut ties with the Patriots and how tough was it to inform team owner Robert Kraft of his choice to sign with a different team in NFL free agency.
"It was really the night that I had stopped by and spoke with Mr. Kraft and asked if I could come over and see him. We spoke and we had a great conversation," Brady said. "I just wanted to express what he's meant to me in my life. We spoke with coach (Bill) Belichick at the same time -- we were at different locations, so we talked with him (too) -- it was a great conversation. Got a chance to talk to Jonathan Kraft as well. All three of those guys have been involved in so many important decisions in my life both career-related and personal-related. I leave there with just great admiration for the people in that organization. It's a world class, first-class organization in every way, and I wanted to leave it that way, too. I know the Patriots will have a great team, they always do. They have great players, great leadership, great coaches. I certainly wish them the best ..."
Earlier in the call, Brady was asked about Robert Kraft's recent comments that it was the veteran quarterback's decision to leave the Patriots. Brady, as expected, dodged the question as best he could.
"Again, I'm not responsible for how other people will say certain things," Brady said. "I think Mr. Kraft has been a great influence on my life, and I'm so grateful for two decades. I referenced that the other day, it's been an amazing thing for my family. I'm sure when I'm done playing, I'll look back and have a chance to really re-evaluate my entire career. At the same time, I'm excited for this opportunity that I have. I can only speak to how I feel. I wrote about that in my social media (posts) the other day. Getting to be a free agent and having the opportunity to join the Bucs was something that I was really excited about, and that's why we're at where we're at.
Brady also was asked if he was disappointed the Patriots didn't make a greater effort to re-sign him given all he accomplished with the franchise.
“No, I have a great deal of respect — there’s nobody who's been a bigger fan of the New England Patriots than me,” Brady said. “I have nothing but total respect and love. I’m so grateful to Mr. Kraft and the organization and Coach Belichick and all of the coaches and, obviously, all of my teammates. It’s been a lot of days responding to a lot of incredible text messages from my teammates, former teammates, from a lot of the great people I’ve got to meet over the years. I have so many great relationships that will be maintained. That’s, I think, the greatest gift that football has brought me is the relationships that I’ve had with so many of the people I’ve worked with.
"It’ll be certainly different but at the same time, that’s the way life can be at times. What won’t be different is my approach to the game, my approach to what my roles and responsibilities are. I’m going to go out and do the best I can every day to put our team in a position to win."