In addition to his wide-ranging Tuesday morning media tour, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement commemorating the end of Tom Brady’s 20-year tenure with the organization.
Kraft expressed his love and appreciation for the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback while lamenting that Brady and the team were unable to come to terms on a contract that would have kept him in Foxboro.
“There simply will never be another Tom Brady,” Kraft said. “I now look forward to the day we can bring him back home to New England to celebrate his Patriots career, his endless achievements and his legacy as the greatest of all time. I love him very much.”
Here is Kraft’s statement in full:
“How do I possibly sum up the depth of my gratitude to Tom Brady for what he’s given us these past 20 years, or the sadness I feel knowing it’s ending? I love Tom like a son and I always will. He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. I had hoped this day would never come, but rather that Tom would end his remarkable career in a Patriots uniform after yet another Super Bowl championship. Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality. While sad today, the overwhelming feeling I have is appreciation for his countless contributions to our team and community.
“When Tom arrived in New England as an unheralded, sixth-round pick, no one could have imagined the fairytale story that would be written, the records that would be broken or the joy he would bring to an entire region. He leaves 20 years later as the winningest quarterback in NFL history with six Super Bowl victories, nine AFC titles and 17 division championships. He has been an exemplary teammate and leader. There simply will never be another Tom Brady. I now look forward to the day we can bring him back home to New England to celebrate his Patriots career, his endless achievements and his legacy as the greatest of all time. I love him very much.”
Kraft has taken a slightly different tack in the conversations he’s had with various media outlets since Brady’s announcement. In those, he’s insisted that Brady left the Patriots because the QB wanted to, not because the team did not want to retain him.
“If Tom wanted to remain a Patriot,” Kraft told NFL Media’s Mike Giardi, “we would have had a deal.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick also released a statement praising Brady, calling his Patriots career “unfathomably spectacular.”