Tom Brady has announced he is leaving the New England Patriots after a 20-year spell with the team which yielded a record six Super Bowl wins.
Brady was drafted by the Patriots out of the University of Michigan in 2000 and has gone on to build what is widely regarded as the greatest career for an NFL quarterback.
Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, and was on the winning team with the Patriots in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018, the latter making him the oldest player to ever win a Super Bowl at the age of 41.
“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible team accomplishments,” Brady wrote in a lengthy statement posted in two parts on social media. “I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and everyone of you, and to have the memories we’ve created together."
"To all my team-mates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organisation, I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values...
"Pats Nation will always be a part of me. I don't know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career."
Brady, 42, is a free agent this off-season, and is able to speak to rival teams with full free agency window opening on Wednesday. Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers emerged as the two likely destinations for Brady.