New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: (L-R) Robert Kraft, owner and CEO of the New England Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 celebrate with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to win the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

According to Seth Wickersham, the author of It’s Better to be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness, Tom Brady’s departure from the Patriots went beyond just Bill Belichick.

Wickersham joined Felger and Mazz in-studio on Friday, days before the Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers do battle on Sunday Night Football in Brady’s much-anticipated return to Gillette Stadium. Asked whether it’s true that Belichick pushed Brady out the door, he said that Kraft had a major hand in Brady’s decision to leave, because of his reluctance to sign the quarterback through age 45.

“I think that it was an organizational decision,” Wickersham said. “Bill obviously thought Tom was close to the end. But I have a detail in the book about Robert Kraft at the Super Bowl when the Chiefs played the Niners, and he was telling owners there, ‘Look, we want [to re-sign] Tom, but not ’til he’s 45 years old.’ So the two men who should’ve known better than anybody else not to underestimate Tom Brady, did exactly that.”

Now that Brady went to the Buccaneers on a two-year deal and won his seventh championship with them in Super Bowl LV, Wickersham believes there is almost certainly a level of regret on Kraft’s part for not giving Brady the commitment he desired.

“How can you not be Robert Kraft and be on the field Sunday night and say, ‘What is he doing in that uniform, and why aren’t we hanging up another banner? How can that possibly be? What did we do here?’” Wickersham said. “But, they did it.”

Listen below for the full interview. The Patriots and Bucs play Sunday night at 8 p.m. You can hear the call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Follow the New England Patriots and the National Football League at