Tom Brady, who is among the best NFL quarterbacks ever, said on Twitter and Instagram that he was leaving the New England Patriots after fully two decades and a record six Super Bowl wins.
Brady, 42, was a sixth-round draft choice out of the University of Michigan and has spent his entire 20-year NFL career with the Patriots.
He is an unrestricted free agent and in his statement he mentioned nothing about retiring.
The Patriots’ playoffs loss to the Tennessee Titans in December gave rise to speculation about Brady's future with the team.
Brady himself said then that retirement was “pretty unlikely.” In his latest statement, he gave no indication of where he might play next.
“I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters,” Brady wrote on his social-media sites.
“MA [Massachusetts] has been my home for 20 years. It has truly been the happiest two decades I could have envisioned in my life, and I have nothing but love and gratitude for my time in New England. The support has been overwhelming.”
Brady also gave a shout-out to his comrades in the Patriots organization.
“To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, [Head Coach Bill] Belichick, RKK [Patriots owner Robert Kraft] and the Kraft family and the entire organization, I want to say thank you for the past 20 years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values,” he said.
“I have learned from everyone. … I have benefited from all you have given me.”
SI.com reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers have made aggressive offers for Brady. The legal negotiating period in the NFL began on Monday, the site reported.
When it comes to individual statistics, Brady sits in second place, behind Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, for completions, passing yards and touchdowns.