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A farewell and thank you to Tom Brady, the greatest of all-time

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Related: Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots: News, analysis, statements, memories, and more

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots Championship Parade Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

It’s now been more than 48 hours since Tom Brady announced his intentions not to re-sign with the New England Patriots, and it still seems hard to believe.

We all knew the day would come eventually, when someone other than the six-time Super Bowl champion would be under center in Foxboro for the Patriots. Yet when the news broke just before 9 a.m. on Tuesday, it hurt. It didn’t seem real, and still doesn’t, that Brady will be rocking a jersey without the Flying Elvis on it next season.

Life is always changing, especially over the past 20 years. In our own inconsistent world, the past 20 years have featured tremendous amounts of change: some have gotten married, had kids, started a business, moved houses, started college, buried a loved one, and the list goes on and on. However, for those here in New England, we had one constant in our life these past two decades: Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots.

No matter what was going on in our lives, positive or negative, we knew every Sunday there would be Brady; running down the sideline screaming “Let’s Go!” and carving up opposing defenses. In his two decades here, Brady always gave us something to look forward too and something to celebrate.

When Brady was first drafted in 2000, Boston was not the “City of Champions” as it is known today. Boston was the lovable losers, who hadn’t seen a title since Larry Bird and the Celtics in the 1980s. But Brady helped change that narrative and gave a region an identity. After winning Super Bowls in 2001, 2003, and 2004, with Brady leading the charge, Boston had status in the sports world. And after winning Super Bowls in 2014, 2016, and 2018, all with Brady still under center, Boston is now known as “Titletown” and “The sport’s capital of the world”.

But it wasn’t just those championships and performances on the football field that left an impression on us, it was his impact beyond that. Brady’s impact on the younger generation was inspirational to us all. Besides spoiling them with his winning ways, Brady always made time for kids in local Boys and Girls Clubs and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Brady also had a prominent role with the Best Buddies charity, in which he helped raise millions throughout his time with the Patriots.

So, as Tom moves on, New England will be left with a lifetime full of memories.

We celebrated with you during the highs (which there were so, so many) and cried with you during the lows (which there were so, so little). We’ve fought for you online, at school, at bars, etc. when someone dares to mention you aren’t the G.O.A.T. We stood by your side through thick and thin no matter what you were going through, and heck, some even got arrested for you. You taught us what it takes to lead, how to be great, and how to compete. You even taught us how to hydrate and what it means to become pliable. Sports is often known as an “escape” from reality, but for us, Brady was our reality.

As you go off to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to embark on your next journey, we will miss you. We will miss your pregame social media pump up videos, your Monday morning post-victory videos, and your famous pregame fist pumps. We will miss Gisele, Jack, Benny and, Vivian. We will miss your improbable comebacks and watching you roll down Boylston in a duck boat showing off yet another Lombardi Trophy. We will miss it all.

But no matter where you are, we’ll still be rooting for you. We’ll see you back at Gillette when you get your red jacket, and we’ll see you in Canton.

Thank you for everything Tom, we will never forget the magical ride.