One day after he announced his retirement from professional football, Tom Brady was still the talk of the NFL — so much so that one of his long-time companions went on national television on Thursday morning to talk about the news.
Appearing on CNN, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke about his team’s former quarterback and also mentioned his desire to have Brady retire with his team. To do so, Kraft expressed plans to have the 45-year-old sign a ceremonial one-day contract with the franchise.
“I’d do it tomorrow,” Kraft said. “Not only do I want it, our fans are clamoring for it and to us, he always has been and always will be a Patriot ... We’ll do everything we can in our power to bring him back, sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honor him for many years to come.”
A sixth-round draft pick in 2000, Brady took over as New England’s starting quarterback the following year and helped transform the Patriots into the NFL’s model franchise. They won six Super Bowls with him at the helm, and established themselves as the only dynasty of the salary cap era.
Despite his successful two-decade partnership with the team, however, Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. He promptly added another championship to his already legendary résumé, eventually retiring twice: briefly last offseason, and “for good” earlier this week.
Regardless of his three-year stint in Tampa Bay, Brady will always be closely associated with the Patriots and the New England region. Kraft said so himself on Thursday.
“He did so much to bring life and good cheer to our community,” he said. “He’s a beloved figure and he’s earned the respect and love that people feel for him like no other athlete in our town and we’ve had some great ones.”
The Patriots signing Brady to a one-day contract would be a fitting tribute given his status as the best player the team has ever had. There is precedent for such a move as well.
In 2015, Willie McGinest signed such a deal as part of his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Two years later, Vince Wilfork did the same after announcing his retirement from pro football. Just like Brady, both men finished their careers outside New England but were recognized by the team and its ownership for their contributions to the club.