Several of Tom Brady contemporaries have admitted they were surprised to see the quarterback leave the New England Patriots after 20 seasons.
But Brady's former teammate knows better.
Ex-Patriots safety Rodney Harrison joined NBC Sports' Mike Tirico during Tuesday's edition of "Lunch Talk Live" to explain what may have motivated Brady to bolt for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.
"It's very difficult to play for Coach (Bill) Belichick," Harrison said. "Coach Belichick is a stickler when it comes to preparation, attention to detail, discipline, being on time, all those different things. So imagine (Brady) being married to Coach Belichick for 20 years."
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Brady will experience a much different head coach in Tampa with the player-friendly Bruce Arians. Beyond a change in coaches, though, Harrison is glad his former QB was able to test the open market after two decades of contract battles with New England.
"I'm happy because Tom got an opportunity to experience free agency," Harrison said. "There's nothing like free agency, Mike. You get a chance to really get to know who likes you and what people think of you. And I'm just happy that Tom was able to experience that."
Whatever you think of Brady and Belichick's relationship when they parted ways, Harrison believes the 42-year-old QB was right to control his own destiny and seek opportunities elsewhere rather than continue to try to make things work with the Patriots.
Brady and Belichick also have the chance to prove they can win without the other. Just don't take the debate over who meant more to the Patriots' success to Harrison.
"I think it's stupid," Harrison said. "Because no matter how good those guys were together, guess what? They weren't very good without Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Richard Seymour, Richard Seymour, Willie McGinest.
"I just think it's such an injustice to all the great players that have come in and really made major contributions to those championships. It's not just Brady. It's not just Belichick."