After 20 seasons and six Super Bowl wins with the New England Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady is headed down south to join Florida’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady made the widely-anticipated official with an Instagram announcement Friday morning, saying he was “excited, humble and hungry,” and adding: “I'm starting a new football journey and thankful for the Buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do.”
The legendary quarterback went on: “I look forward to meeting all my new teammates and coaches and proving to them that they can believe and trust in me... I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I’m not gonna say much more—I’m just gonna get to work!”
In a Tuesday statement announcing his departure from the Patriots, Brady said it was time for him to “open a new stage for [his] life and career.”
“You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you. And Pats Nation will always be a part of me,” he wrote. “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.”
After being selected to join the Patriots during the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, he spent 18 years as the team’s captain—leading them to nine Super Bowls. In addition to taking six Super Bowl wins back to Boston, he also became the Super Bowl MVP four times.
There was speculation that Brady might retire from football altogether, but he put those rumors to rest—stating it was “pretty unlikely” he would leave the sport after losing first-round playoffs to the Tennessee Titans in January. He vowed in an Instagram post to put himself “in the arena again” because he still has “more to prove.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said it was a “privilege” to coach Brady over the years, calling him one of the Patriots’ “original creators.” Team CEO Robert Kraft also wrote that he loves the 42-year-old “like a son.”
“When Tom arrived in New England as an unheralded, sixth-round pick, no one could have imagined the fairytale story that would be written, the records that would be broken or the joy he would bring to an entire region,” Kraft said. “There simply will never be another Tom Brady.”
“He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time,” Belichick wrote.