Brady told reporters during a conference call— in which he was officially introduced as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — that he made the decision the night of March 16 when he met with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He said he also talked to Bill Belichick at the same meeting.
“We had a great conversation. I just wanted to express what he’s meant to me in my life, and we spoke to Coach Belichick at the same time. We were at different locations, so we talked to him, and it was a great conversation,” Brady said, adding he also spoke to team president Jonathan Kraft.
“All three of those guys have been involved in so many important decisions in my life — career-related, personal-related. I leave there with just great admiration for the people in that organization. It’s a world-class, first-class organization in every way. And I wanted to leave it that way, too.”
While heated behind-the-scenes contract negotiations between Brady and Belichick are rumored to be the reason why he decided to take his talents south, the quarterback dismissed the notion, saying he’s always been a fan of the Patriots and has nothing but respect for the organization.
“No, I have a great deal of respect. There’s nobody who’s been a bigger fan of the Patriots than me. I have nothing but total respect and love,” Brady said. “I’m so grateful to Mr. Kraft and the organization, and Coach Belichick, and all the coaches. And obviously all my teammates.”
The six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback didn’t answer what it would have taken for New England to have kept him.
“I don’t want to talk about the past, because that’s not relevant to what’s important in my future and what’s going on this offseason for me,” he said. “I have nothing but two decades of an incredible experience, and learning from some of the best players and the best coaches and the ownership of the team. I think, for all of us, things in life can change and you have to be able to adapt and evolve. With each of those changes become different opportunities to learn and grow. That’s where I’m at.”
Brady spent 20 seasons with the Patriots before deciding to jump to the Buccaneers. He reportedly signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the team last week.