Tom Brady has officially left the New England Patriots and he's now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he signed with the team this past Friday. Patriots fans are wondering why Brady is not coming back to New England, but head coach Bill Belichick might have something to do with it. Seth Wickersham of ESPN reported that Brady had a meeting with Belichick in 2017 about a contract extension and the conversation did not go well.
Wickersham wrote Brady made it clear he wanted to play until his mid-40s. He wanted a big contract so he could retire as a Patriot, but he was also willing to move on if the team didn't have the same point of view. "He met with Belichick, and the meeting ended with a 'blowup,'" Wickersham wrote. "He met with Kraft. He got mixed signals. Team president Jonathan Kraft told NFL Network in January 2018 that Brady had 'earned the right' to decide when he wanted to stop playing for the team. On the other hand, that right never came in the form of a contract extension, at least not one Brady felt would last the rest of his career."
Wickersham went on to write that after the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl that year, he told people in the organization he wasn't returning to New England. Fast forward to March 16, 2020, and Brady went to Kraft's house to tell him he was not going to re-sign with the Patriots.
"Think about loving your wife and for whatever reason, there's something -- her father or mother -- that makes life impossible for you and you have to move on," Kraft said to the NFL Network.
Brady and Belichick might not have had the most perfect relationship, but they clearly had respect for each other. When Brady announced he was not returning to the Patriots, Belichick released a statement and called him the GOAT.0comments
"Examples of Tom's greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted," Belichick said. "We witnessed how he prepared when he wasn't playing, how he performed when he got his opportunity, what he did to continuously improve, his leadership, his mindset, the example he set, and, of course, the person he is. I am extremely grateful for what he did for our team and for me personally."
"Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom. He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time."