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Patriots owner Robert Kraft releases a statement on Tom Brady’s retirement: ‘It was a privilege to watch’

Related: Tom Brady officially announces his retirement from the NFL

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

For 20 years, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft had a front-row seat to watching Tom Brady. Starting as an under-the-radar selection in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady went on to lead Kraft’s team to six Super Bowl titles.

While the future Hall of Famer left the organization in 2020 for a two-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he will forever be linked to the Patriots. Brady said so himself upon his departure, releasing a statement titled “Forever a Patriot.”

Now that he has called it a career — Brady announced his retirement on Tuesday — Kraft released a statement on the greatest quarterback in franchise and NFL history:

Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career. A generation of football fans have grown up knowing only an NFL in which Tom Brady dominated. He retires with nearly every NFL career passing record, yet the only one that ever mattered to him was the team’s win-loss record. In his 20 years as a starter his teams qualified for the playoffs 19 times. He led his teams to 10 Super Bowls, winning an NFL-record seven championships. In a team sport like football, it is rare to see an individual have such a dominant impact on a team’s success. You didn’t have to be a Patriots fan to respect and appreciate his competitiveness, determination and will to win that fueled his success. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true.

I have the greatest respect for Tom personally and always will. His humility, coupled with his drive and ambition, truly made him special. I will always feel a close bond to him and will always consider him an extension of my immediate family.

In two decades with the Patriots, Brady appeared in a 285 regular season games and 41 playoff contests. Together with head coach Bill Belichick he helped established the first and only dynasty of the NFL’s salary cap era, going on a run of excellence unmatched before or since.

Six months before his 45th birthday, Brady heads off into a well-deserved retirement.