Tom Brady wrote more than 2,500 words for an article Monday on The Players’ Tribune, reflecting on his time with the New England Patriots and looking ahead to life with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The name “Belichick” appears just once, and even that was left very much open for interpretation.
“By the way,” Brady wrote, “in the sixth round it’s not like Coach Belichick himself was on the other end of the line — I think it was his assistant, Berj. ‘We just wanted to let you know you’ve been picked by the New England Patriots,’ Berj said.”
And that’s it. That’s the only mention of Belichick in the lengthy post titled “The Only Way Is Through,” which was posted to the site Monday afternoon. And it’s not like Brady was hiding from reflection and thankfulness. The Kraft family is directly mentioned, and Brady does give props to teammates and coaches.
But dig a little deeper, and there are little hints that the weekend report about Brady — the one that said he was “Belichick’d out” after 20 years in Foxboro — feels more and more accurate.
“Playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a change, a challenge, an opportunity to lead and collaborate, and also to be seen and heard,” Brady wrote.
Seen and heard? That’s an interesting request for the greatest quarterback in NFL history to feel after 20 years with one team. Is it really possible for someone like Brady to not feel seen and heard in a place like New England? To not feel like he could collaborate?
Maybe with Belichick running his notoriously tight ship, that’s the way it went. Perhaps Belichick’s insistence on continuing to conduct business that way, even if it meant upsetting the greatest of all time, was actually the final straw for No. 12.
Brady, who was the one who sold himself to the Bucs and not vice versa, gushed at how the team has “welcomed me as one of their own.”
He added: “They want to listen to what I have to say. I’m excited to be embraced fully for what I can bring to the Bucs. In turn, I’m ready to embrace fully a team that is confident in what I do — and what I bring — and is willing to go on this ride with me.”
If Brady thought the Patriots were willing to do that for Brady, either contractually or how they treated him, wouldn’t he still be in New England? We may never know Brady’s true feelings, and until we do, we’re left to read between the many, many lines.
Then again, maybe he’s telling us that’s the case without actually telling us.
“Changes and challenges are part of life. They’re part of athletes’ lives. They’re supposed to happen. They need to happen sometimes,” he wrote.
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