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New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16: Tom Brady #12 and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shake hands at the start of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tributes to Tom Brady have poured in since the 44-year-old seven-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement Tuesday morning. On Wednesday night, perhaps the most anticipated voice joined the conversation, with the Patriots releasing a statement from head coach Bill Belichick. The statement reads, in full…

“I am privileged to have drafted and coached Tom Brady, the ultimate competitor and winner. Tom’s humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history. Tom consistently performed at the highest level against competition that always made him the number one player to stop. His pursuit of excellence was inspirational. Tom was professional on and off the field, and carried himself with class, integrity, and kindness. I thank Tom for his relentless pursuit of excellence and positive impact on me and the New England Patriots for 20 years.”

Belichick drafted Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. The two set a new NFL record for wins by a coach-quarterback combo with 249 between the regular season and playoffs, on their way to six Super Bowl wins. There is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to their time together.

Brady spoke highly of Belichick when he returned Foxborough to play the Patriots in October. “We got a personal relationship, you know, for 20-plus years. He drafted me here,” Brady said during his postgame press conference. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a coach and obviously a lot of respect for this organization and all the different people here that try to make it successful.”

Belichick was hardly the only one to comment on Brady’s retirement…

Prominent sports figures pay tribute to Tom Brady after retirement announcement

  • Tom Brady talks with owner Robert Kraft before a preseason game in August 2019.

    Despite the glaring omission of anyone from New England or the Patriots, Tom Brady’s retirement announcement still got a glowing statement from Robert Kraft. The team posted their own statements and tributes to Brady’s career as part of an outpouring of adulation for the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

    Others who gave their own statements or tributes include Peyton Manning, Alex Guerrero, and others across the NFL.

    Here’s a quick look at the most notable tributes and statements on Brady’s retirement.

    Patriots Twitter

    Duck Boats have become something of a Boston sports icon, mainly due to the success of Brady and the Patriotsover the past two decades. So it makes sense to pay tribute to him through artwork by honoring all the winnin’.

  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

    Goodell’s statement likely induced eye-rolls from Patriots fans more than anything. Publicly, anyway, Brady’s relationship with Goodell in the league offices was at times adversarial. The commissioner and his minions were Public Enemy No. 1 during Deflategate, and that may never change in the hearts and minds of New Englanders.

    So, those people are probably hoping that Brady saw this statement and said “Uhhh thanks?”

  • Peyton Manning

    Brady vs. Manning was arguably the greatest competitive rivalry in the history of professional sports. They weren’t “rivals” in the sense that there was any bad blood, but their games were always the must-see game of the year, and they obviously have a rich history of playoff competition.

    There are probably a lot of people out there who consider them to be the two greatest quarterbacks of all time. What other sports rivalry can say that?

  • Alex Guerrero

    It wouldn’t be a Brady celebration without Guerrero, his longtime trainer and business partner with the TB12 brand. It’ll be (mildly) interesting to see what their relationship looks like going forward, now that he won’t need Guerrero’s help getting ready for and recovering from football games.

  • The New York Jets

    It’s funny because he even ripped the Jets’ hearts out earlier this season.

  • Robert Kraft

    Brady caused a massive stir when New England realized that he made no mention of the Patriots, anyone within the organization, or their fans when he announced his retirement. But Kraft took the high road.

    Soon after the above statement, Brady quote-tweeted it, thanking “Patriots Nation.” Wasn’t nearly good enough to undo the damage he’d done with a lot of fans by omitting them from his initial announcement.

PHOTOS: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick Through the Years

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.