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Bill Belichick dismisses notion that he didn’t want to keep Tom Brady

Mike Florio, Tony Dungy, Drew Brees examine how to prepare for the emotional rollercoaster slated for Week 4 when Tom Brady makes his return to Foxborough as a Buccaneer.

It’s Return of The Tommy week in Boston. And it’s already getting off to a good start.

Appearing on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked whether he wanted to re-sign Brady when he became a free agent in 2020.

I think we’ve been through all the dynamics of that,” Belichick said, via Mike Reiss of “He looked at his options and made his decision. We weren’t as good an option as Tampa. . . . It wasn’t a question of not wanting him, that’s for sure.”

Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston heard that comment and made a note of it. When Belichick met with reporters later in the morning, Curran sought elaboration from Belichick.

“You spoke on WEEI today about Tom Brady looking at his options, and he decided Tampa was a better option,” Curran said. “Why weren’t the Patriots a better option for him when both Robert Kraft and Brady himself said over and over how much they wanted him to finish his career here?”

I’m not gonna go back and rehash all that,” Belichick said. “We’ve talked about that.”

Curran interrupted with a pointed remark: “You’ve never talked about it with us.”

“Our focus is on the game here,” Belichick said. “Look, I have so much respect and appreciation for Tom and everything he did here and for me and for our team. We’re just getting ready to compete against Tampa this week, and we’re gonna keep our focus on that.”

“You talk about rehashing dynamics that you’ve already gone through,” Curran said. “You’ve never done that.”

“We made a statement when Tom left, and that covered it,” Belichick said.

Neither the Patriots nor Belichick ever answered the question of whether the parting was unilateral or mutual. Maybe Belichick was ready to move on. Maybe Brady wants to tell himself Belichick was ready to move on, so that Brady can further motivate himself to thrive in Tampa. Regardless, if Brady had stayed he most likely wouldn’t have won his seventh Super Bowl, not with the team that the Patriots had in 2020 or have in 2021.

So regardless of whether Belichick wanted a fresh start, it’s obvious that Brady did. And it’s obvious that Brady made the right move, that Tampa really was the better option from the standpoint of winning a championship. Because, you know, he did.