When Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, he released a statement on social media. He thanked his family for his support, and mentioned his agent Don Yee as well as his personal trainer Alex Guerrero. He also thanked the team he spent the final two years of his career with, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The New England Patriots, meanwhile, where nowhere to be found. Neither were their fans. Brady had spent 20 years in New England and won six of his seven Super Bowls as a Patriot, so what had happened?
While a lot of fans will see it as a personal affront — just take a look at social media — Brady leaving out the Patriots as an intentional slight would be uncharacteristic. He has stated his admiration for the franchise numerous times through the years, even after his departure in 2020.
Brady most recently did so following the Buccaneers’ regular season game in New England in October.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” he said at the time. “Obviously, there could be an opportunity to come back here. So, we’ll see.
“I feel like I’ll always be a part of this community and I’ll be up here quite a bit when it’s all said and done. When I retire, I’m sure there will be a lot of time for... I have a lot friends up here, it’s a great place. Damn, my kids were born on Beacon Street in the city. It’s been an amazing place for me. It still is.”
So, why did Brady leave the Patriots and their fans out of his retirement announcement? That is anyone’s guess, but having covered him for quite some time there are two theories that appear to make sense.
1.) He will forever be associated with the Patriots more so than the Buccaneers, so he wanted to give them their moment as well.
2.) He will return to New England — as he alluded to in that October press conference — to sign a ceremonial one-day contract with the Patriots or something similar.
Obviously, it remains to be seen whether any of that is actually true. However, one thing can be said with quite some certainty: Brady intentionally ruffling some feathers in New England for whatever reason does seem out of character. Even though he left the team two years ago, he still likes the organization and the region.
He said so himself when he announced his decision to leave the Patriots: he is “forever a Patriot.” Today’s statement, even though it looks odd at first glance, does not change any of that.