NFL quarterback Tom Brady has announced he is leaving the New England Patriots after a 20-year spell during which he won a record six Super Bowls.
Brady, who was drafted by the Patriots out of the University of Michigan in 2000, built what is widely regarded as the greatest career ever for an NFL quarterback.
He 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 the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the age of 41.
A four-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) and three-time league MVP, Brady has been the enduring face of the Patriots and the most-celebrated player of his generation.
The 42-year-old’s departure from the team means he is an NFL free agent for the first time in his career.
He officially hits the league’s open market Wednesday, but could reach an agreement with another team on Tuesday when players and clubs can negotiate deals.
Brady posted two statements on Twitter as news of his departure from the Patriots emerged.
In the first post, addressed to his teammates, coaches, club executives and staff, he wrote: I couldn’t be the man I am today without the relationships you have allowed me to build with you.
I have benefited from all you have given me.
I cherished every opportunity I had to be part of our team, and I love you all for that.
In a second post, addressed to Patriots supporters, he wrote: I don’t know what my future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will always love you and what we have shared – a lifetime full of fun memories.
(c) Sky News 2020: Tom Brady: NFL superstar parts ways with New England Patriots after 20 years