Tom Brady announced Tuesday he will leave the New England Patriots and continue his NFL career “elsewhere” next season.
“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments,” Brady said in an Instagram post.
“I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and every one of you, and to have the memories we’ve created together.”
Brady, 42, became an unrestricted free agent for the first time at noon EST on Monday thanks to a restructuring of his contract last year. He did not specify his next destination.
Multiple teams are reportedly pursuing Brady, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins.
Brady, a three-time NFL MVP, has played his entire career with the Patriots. After the team selected him in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, Brady led them to nine Super Bowls, winning six of them. The Patriots won at least 12 games in three of those 20 seasons.
Tom Brady is leaving Trump’s Patriots
In recent years, Brady’s relationship with President Donald Trump has been the source of much speculation — and liberal outrage.
Brady explained during a 2015 radio interview why a MAGA cap had been spotted in his locker. He acknowledged his longtime friendship with Trump and said the then-Republican presidential candidate had given him the cap.
“I’ve known [Trump] since 2002 when I judged one of his beauty pageants … so I’ve known him for a long time,” Brady told Boston’s WEEI. “He always gives me a call and different types of motivational speeches at different times.”
For his part, Trump has made no secret of his support for Brady, along with the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick.
Congratulations to Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the entire New England Patriots team on a great game and season. Will be a fantastic Super Bowl!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2019
The president has yet to respond to Brady’s announcement.