Tom Brady Will Not Be Returning to the Patriots: 'My Football Journey Will Take Place Elsewhere' (UPDATE)

Tom Brady has announced he will not be returning to the New England Patriots.

This is a photo of Tom Brady.

Image via Getty/Icon Sportswire

This is a photo of Tom Brady.

UPDATED 3/17, 2:00 p.m. ET: Colin Cowherd is reporting that according to his unnamed source, Tom Brady will sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday. 

"I was told 35 minutes ago that Tom Brady signs tomorrow with Tampa Bay," Cowherd said on Tuesday. "He had made a decision and talked to Tampa Bay yesterday. He was willing to re-sign with New England but he watched Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins go to other franchises and then called Robert Kraft an hour and a half later and says ‘I’M OUT’… I am told Tampa is the choice and he will sign tomorrow... This is not a 'football source', it is a ‘Icon’ source, and somebody in Tom’s stratosphere that knows Tom and who is a famous person. He says Tampa."

Cowherd specified that his source is not a "football source," but one of "wealth and celebrity, connected to sports."

See original story below. 


Tom Brady has announced he will leave the New England Patriots to play elsewhere.

For the first time in his illustrious career, the 42-year-old Brady dove into the free agency market and was being courted by a host of teams.

One of the teams that had initially eyed Brady was the Tennessee Titans. They took themselves out of the running by signing Ryan Tannehill to a massive contract worth $118 million.

The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers were also interested in Brady's services. Both the Raiders and Chargers were reportedly ready to offer Brady a deal that rivaled the contract extension Robert Kraft and the Patriots were prepping for Brady. 

In New England, the Pats were reportedly prepared to compensate Brady for the years of pay cuts he took to allow the team to acquire championship talent. The front office believed that Brady had two to three years of professional football left in him. As a result, they were going to offer him a two- or three-year contract extension that would be worth around $30 million a year. Yet from this year's struggles, it was clear the Pats are focused on rebuilding their roster to be sustainable for life without Brady.

With his window closing quickly, Brady didn't seem interested in being part of a rebuilding process. This led people to believe he would exchange the idea of being a lifelong Pat to play on a team that's more equipped to win right now.

In the end, a tangible effort by the Patriots to keep Tom Brady in New England never happened. No negotiation. Just the intimation that it was on Brady to say what he wanted. For Brady, that stance spoke volumes.

— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 17, 2020

As NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport notes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were also in the running to sign Brady.

The #Bucs made a strong offer to QB Tom Brady believed to be $30M or more. The #Chargers did, as well. And now, he’s leaving New England.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2020

Tom Brady just announced on IG that his football journey will take place elsewhere", not in New England.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2020

ESPN's Jeff Darlington also reported that Brady would like to play somewhere close to New York.

Tom Brady in New York?@JeffDarlington says he would like to play somewhere close to NYC, but is open to options.

— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) March 17, 2020

Brady took to Instagram to share a message with the Pats, his fans, and his followers. He wrote, "I am grateful for all that you have taught me—I learned from everyone. You all have allowed me to maximize my potential and that is all a player can hope for. "

He continued, "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. ... You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you. And Pats Nation will always be a part of me."

Read his full message below.

ESPN's Adam Schefter shared on Tuesday morning that while Brady has announced he won't come back to the Patriots, he "has not made a decision on where he will play next season and he will be exploring his options."

Despite today’s proclamation that he would not be returning to New England, Tom Brady has not made a decision on where he will play next season and he will be exploring his options, per a league source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2020

Shortly after his stunning announcement, Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, released his own statement on Brady's departure. 

Robert Kraft to ESPN: "Tommy initiated contact last night & came over. We had a positive, respectful discussion. It's not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son"

— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 17, 2020

"It's not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest," Kraft told ESPN. "After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son."

Kraft told Stephen A. Smith that if Brady wanted to stay, they could have made it happen. 

Stephen A just said Robert Kraft called him during the last commercial break and told him: " very clear if Tom Brady wanted to stay we would've worked it out, and he would've remained a New England Patriot. But Tom Brady wanted to leave."

— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) March 17, 2020

"But Tom Brady wanted to leave," Kraft said.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also released an official statement.

Statement from #Patriots HC Bill Belichick:

— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 17, 2020

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