Robert Kraft Reveals Hopes for Tom Brady and Patriots in 2020

With the New England Patriots officially eliminated from the playoffs, the questions are swirling about Tom Brady's future in the league. Team owner Robert Kraft has since weighed in, and he has very clear hopes for the 2020 season. He wants Brady back with the Patriots or out of the NFL entirely.

"My hope and prayer is number one, he play for the Patriots. Or number two, he retires," Kraft told NBC Sports' Peter King. "He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what's in his own best personal interest."

A return to the Patriots for a 21st season is possible after Brady said that it was "pretty unlikely" that he would be retiring. However, he did not shut down joining a different franchise at the beginning of the new league year in March. Brady simply said that he would be "exploring his opportunities" and that he feels he can still play at a championship level.

Kraft has made it very clear that he would prefer to see Brady back in New England, but he will not be utilizing the franchise tag to keep the QB around for another season. This is not possible due to a clause in Brady's contract. Kraft also feels like his former sixth-round draft pick has earned the right to explore his options.

"Before the season started, it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year," Kraft said. "You know what I said to myself? 'That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to six Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right.'"

In his 20-year career, Brady has led the Patriots to nine appearances in the Super Bowl and six victories. He nearly achieved perfection in 2017 after finishing the regular season with an undefeated record. However, New England fell to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, finishing the year 18-1.

In addition to the postseason success, the Patriots have won the AFC East 17 times since 2001. This includes 11 consecutive division titles from 2009-2019. New England only finished with fewer than 10 wins in one season (2002) while building a reputation as the greatest dynast in NFL history.

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"Anyone who's done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years," Kraft said. Although he would still prefer to see Brady suiting up for the Patriots once again in 2020.

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty)