A day after Tom Brady's exit from the New England Patriots was confirmed, a deal was struck to send the last quarterback to defeat him in a Super Bowl to pastures new.

Brady is expected to be announced as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after deciding to end his 20-season association with the Patriots.

However, his change of scenery is far from the only transaction affecting the NFL landscape. Here, we wrap up the significant moves reported to have been agreed as the new league year began on Wednesday.

 

Nick Foles, who got the better of Brady in Super Bowl LII, is reportedly headed to the Chicago Bears after the Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to trade him in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

The Jags are parting with Foles just a year after signing the former Philadelphia Eagle to a four-year, $88million contract. He will now provide competition for Mitchell Trubisky, whose role as the Bears' starter is under threat after a disappointing 2019.

Foles' departure allows Gardner Minshew to step in as the starter in Jacksonville. Sixth-round pick Minshew outplayed Foles, who was limited to four games because of injury, last year and will now get the chance to prove he is the Jaguars' franchise quarterback.

Brady's last game as a Patriot came in a playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans, who made the surprising decision to deal defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Casey has at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons.

The Detroit Lions were also involved in the trade market, acquiring safety Duron Harmon from the Patriots. Detroit agreed to a two-year deal with defensive linemen Danny Shelton. Both players have a connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia from his time as New England's defensive coordinator.

Another former Patriot, center Ted Karras, is staying in the division, signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

The New Orleans Saints are said to have agreed a deal to bring back safety Malcolm Jenkins after he was let go by the Eagles. Jenkins was drafted by the Saints in 2009 before leaving for the Eagles in 2014.

Their NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers released safety Eric Reid, while the Atlanta Falcons inked edge rusher Dante Fowler to a three-year contract.

Leonard Floyd will fill the void Fowler's exit left for the Los Angeles Rams, who have re-signed guard Austin Blythe and veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks have brought back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, the pass rusher who played a key role in their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season. Reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers re-signed center Ben Garland to a one-year deal.

The Los Angeles Chargers may have missed out on Brady, but they have bolstered their defense with the signing of defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Cornerback Chris Harris also intends to sign with the Chargers.

Cornerback Eli Apple will play a part in the Raiders' first season in Las Vegas, while safety Sean Davis is headed to the Washington Redskins on a one-year deal.

DeAndre Hopkins insisted claims against his former head coach Bill O'Brien are being "blown way out of proportion".

All-Pro wide receiver Hopkins was traded from the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday in a stunning move by O'Brien.

O'Brien, unlike most head coaches, operates without a general manager and has control over the roster.

He has received significant criticism in the wake of the trade, which saw the Texans net a meagre return of a second-round draft pick and running back David Johnson.

Reports of tension between Hopkins and O'Brien were expanded on by former Dallas Cowboys receiver and pundit Michael Irvin in an appearance on ESPN on Wednesday.

Irvin claimed a meeting between O'Brien and Hopkins led to their relationship deteriorating, and presented a range of allegations about what was said in their talks.

However, reacting in a post on Twitter, Hopkins wrote: "This is being blown way out of proportion.

"As I've said before, I enjoyed and am proud of my time with the Texans. I have the utmost respect for Coach O'Brien and that will not change.  

"Now, I'm ready to play for the Cardinals."

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed Ryan Shazier on the reserve/retired list, the NFL franchise announced on Tuesday.

Shazier has spent the last two seasons on the reserve/physically unable to perform list after suffering a severe spinal injury in December 2017.

The 27-year-old linebacker and two-time Pro Bowler, however, will remain part of the Steelers organisation.

"Ryan's placement on the Reserve/Retired List serves as a matter of protocol to ensure his continued inclusion within our organisation moving forward in his professional career," said Steelers general manager/vice-president Kevin Colbert.

"Number one, Ryan continues to be a remarkable person and just an inspiration for the whole organisation, and really for the whole community, in terms of his perseverance, overcoming what he overcame," added Steelers president Art Rooney II.

"Ryan is going to make some decisions about his future at this point. I don't want to speak for him, but I think from our side of it we would be happy to have him continue to be a part of the Steelers organisation in some capacity. We would love to be able to do that. Ryan is at the point where he's making those kinds of decisions about his future.

"He has been told by a number of people in the organization [about us wanting him to continue to be a part of us], including me."

 

Drew Brees has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $50million deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Brees, 41, has been with the Saints since 2006 and next season is set to be his 20th in the NFL.

NFL Network reported on Tuesday that Brees had agreed to a two-year contract with the Saints worth roughly $50m.

Brees led the Saints to the playoffs last season before they fell to the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC wildcard clash.

The quarterback threw for 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns in 11 games, having been sidelined with a thumb injury.

Tom Brady is set to sign for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, according to reports.

It is a new dawn for Brady and the NFL, with the six-time Super Bowl champion opting to leave the New England Patriots after 20 seasons.

According to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, veteran quarterback Brady is poised to join the Buccaneers as a free agent.

Brady's deal to swap the Patriots for the Buccaneers – led by Bruce Arians – is reportedly worth $30million per year.

The Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and hometown team the San Francisco 49ers were also linked with the 42-year-old great.

However, Brady is set to take his services to Tampa Bay, where quarterback Jameis Winston is an unrestricted free agent after struggling for consistency.

After famously being drafted in round six in 2000 as the 199th overall pick, Brady became the Patriots' starting QB in his second season and immediately won Super Bowl XXXVI, also claiming MVP honours.

A further five Super Bowl successes followed, with Brady the MVP in three of the games.

Brady leaves the Patriots having thrown for 74,571 yards and 541 touchdowns – tallies topped only by Drew Brees in NFL history – in 285 appearances.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, have not featured in the playoffs since 2007 following a 7-9 record in the NFC South last season.

Tom Brady's departure from the New England Patriots might have been the big NFL news on Tuesday, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in free agency.

As the world waits on Brady's next move after 20 seasons as a Patriot, the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers reportedly found new starting quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Teddy Bridgewater respectively.

Here, we wrap up some of the other big moves that were reported to have been agreed ahead of the new league year beginning on Wednesday.

 

Tight end Jason Witten returned to the Dallas Cowboys last season after a campaign in the broadcast booth and he will be back in 2020, but with the Las Vegas Raiders. Witten, Maliek Collins and safety Jeff Heath are all thought to be making the move from Dallas to Sin City. Linebacker Cory Littleton has also agreed terms with the Raiders, according to reports.

Vic Beasley, who led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2015, is said to be heading to the Tennessee Titans. The edge rusher has only had 18 sacks combined over the previous three seasons.

Having had 11.5 sacks in 2019 with the Cowboys, Robert Quinn's agents told NFL.com he is bound for the Chicago Bears on a five-year, $70million deal. Chicago have confirmed Leonard Floyd has been released.

Malcolm Jenkins, a key part of the Philadelphia Eagles when they won Super Bowl LII, has been released, though the team confirmed two other members of their defensive backfield, Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod, had signed new deals.

Former Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, revealed he has been "reunited with my guy" Ron Rivera at the Washington Redskins. 

The Chargers were busy making an acquisition themselves, bringing in offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga on a three-year, $30m deal, according to NFL.com. Who he will be protecting remains to be seen, though, with the Chargers considered one of the favourites in the Brady sweepstakes.

A day after handing receiver A.J. Green the franchise tag, the Cincinnati Bengals reportedly made two signings on the other side of the ball in nose tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes.

The Jacksonville Jaguars bolstered their front seven by signing ex-Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert, while cornerback Darqueze Dennard is thought to be joining too.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC representatives in last month's Super Bowl, confirmed they had tendered one-year contracts to restricted free agents Kendrick Bourne and Matt Breida.

Tom Brady delivered the news that he is leaving the Patriots on Tuesday after 20 years in New England.

The 42-year-old, a six-time Super Bowl champion, will enter free agency and continue his NFL career elsewhere.

The news that the most successful quarterback of all time was moving on prompted many on social media to pay tribute to Brady and his incredible run with the Patriots.

Here, we round up the best from those across the sports community.

 

Brady's go-to receiver in recent years has been Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman, who posted a series of images of the two together along with the caption "family".

Tedy Bruschi was with New England when Brady got drafted in 2000 and he said the veteran's statement was "class personified".

Former cornerback Darrelle Revis, a long-time foe when with the New York Jets before crossing the divide and winning a ring with New England, revealed how difficult it was going up against Brady every day in practice. He wrote on Twitter: "Practice against Tom Brady everyday was like playing on the 92' Dream Team. He brought that much intensity to the practice field.

"Which ever team he lands [on] I'm sure he will continue his legacy of playing a great brand of football."

It was not just NFL players who commented on Brady's exit. NBA great LeBron James, who swapped the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers at different junctures in his career, said he was "looking forward to the next chapter at hand" in a reply to one of Brady's Instagram posts.

James' international team-mate Kevin Durant said he "can't wait to watch the next chapter" while WWE icon The Rock added: "Hate to see you leave, but support you wherever you go."

In winning six titles, Brady is considered a Boston sports icon. David 'Big Papi' Ortiz, who is in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame after being part of three World Series-winning teams, told Brady: "We will miss you on that field."

Brady's recent team-mates Josh Gordon and Ben Watson also paid tribute to their former colleague. Gordon commented on the quarterback's Instagram post, saying it had been "an honour and privilege to even sit next to you", while the recently retired Watson told him to "do what's best" for his family.

Jarrett Stidham, who backed up Brady in New England last year, added: "Love you brother! Thank you for everything!"

Several other players, including Patrick Peterson, Von Miller and Antonio Brown, simply tweeted the goat emoji in response.

Others turned their attention to what might be next for Brady.

Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, who took the Bills to four successive Super Bowls in the 1990s, told his Twitter followers to "stay safe and practice social distancing" while telling Brady to "stay out of the AFC East".

Super Bowl LIV champion Tyrann Mathieu wants to see Brady enter his division, though, the Kansas City Chiefs safety suggesting he will go to the Los Angeles Chargers.

However, former wide receiver Torrey Smith wants boyhood 49ers fan Brady to move to San Francisco and join his old team.

Should none of the other 31 NFL franchises fit the bill for Brady, the NHL's Anaheim Ducks mocked up Brady in one of their jerseys to make their pitch.

The Indianapolis Colts have signed eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers to a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Having previously spent his entire career with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, Rivers is said to have inked a deal worth $25million.

Rivers will be expected to start for the Colts ahead of Jacoby Brissett, who led the offense last year in a season that saw Indianapolis finish a disappointing 7-9.

The Colts tipped their hand that they would not be drafting a quarterback when they traded their first-round pick (13th overall) to the San Francisco 49ers for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

Rivers, 38, looked very much like a player in decline in his final season with the Chargers. He passed for 4,615 yards and 23 touchdowns but was turnover-prone as he threw 20 interceptions.

Indianapolis will hope that playing eight games in their domed Lucas Oil Stadium will help revitalise Rivers in the twilight of his career.

Rivers' familiarity with Nick Sirianni, who spent two of his four years with the Chargers as the quarterbacks coach, may also have been a motivating factor in his decision to sign for the Colts.

His arrival in Indianapolis removes the Colts as a potential destination for Tom Brady, who earlier on Tuesday announced he would be leaving the New England Patriots after 20 seasons.

Teddy Bridgewater is finalising a three-year contract with the Carolina Panthers that will see him replace Cam Newton as the team’s starting quarterback, per widespread reports.

Newton, who has struggled in recent seasons with shoulder and foot injuries, has insisted the Panthers "forced" him into seeking a trade as he delivered an angry response to the team stating he had been made available.

Now, free agent Bridgewater – who had been linked with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – is poised to replace him.

Newton, the first overall pick in 2011, has had a nine-year run with the Panthers and took them to Super Bowl 50 in a year he was crowned the league MVP.

A basic framework for a deal is reportedly in place that will see Bridgewater earn around $20million-a-year, with the finishing touches set to be applied before the new league year begins on Wednesday.

Bridgewater has backed up Drew Brees for the New Orleans Saints over the last two seasons and bided his time waiting for the right starting opportunity.

He has successfully rebuilt his career following the devastating knee injury he suffered while at the Minnesota Vikings in 2016.

The 27-year-old went 5-0 as he stepped in for an injured Brees last season and will now lead the Panthers into a new era alongside recently appointed head coach Matt Rhule.

Also significant is the presence of new Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady, who worked closely with Bridgewater while he was an assistant with the Saints.

The previously unthinkable is to become a reality: Tom Brady has confirmed that his "football journey will take place elsewhere".

Brady will not be a New England Patriot when he starts his 21st NFL season, but where he lands in free agency remains unclear.

The Tennessee Titans are ruled out after re-signing Ryan Tannehill while the Las Vegas Raiders' reported acquisition of Marcus Mariota means Sin City is unlikely to be Brady's next destination.

So where is his most likely landing spot? We assess the options.

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

A sporting icon moving to the City of Stars late in his career? See LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers for evidence that can happen.

The Chargers, who would welcome a star acquisition to help sell season tickets for their new stadium, have a lot in the 'pros' column. They have a vacancy following Philip Rivers' departure, the cap space (over $50 million for 2020) and a plethora of offensive weapons such as Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler.

Los Angeles is also geographically appealing for a man who recently launched his own production company. Yet would Brady really want to challenge Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champions for supremacy in the AFC West?

 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Another team heavily linked to Brady has been Tampa Bay, who are letting Jameis Winston hit free agency after he led the league in passing yards in 2019.

Winston also threw more interceptions than anyone else, and that is why a player of Brady's calibre - even at 42 years old - would be appealing to head coach Bruce Arians.

Brady's eyes would light up at the possibility of playing with a receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the Florida weather is a plus point too. Are the Bucs close enough to contending for a Super Bowl, though? 

 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The aforementioned Rivers seems a logical fit here given his familiarity with the coaching staff and reports suggest the two sides have a mutual interest.

However, if Brady really wanted to stick it to New England and Bill Belichick, what better way than signing for one of their rivals? The Colts are a team still seething at Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' U-turn when he seemed set to become Indy's head coach in 2018.

The Colts have plenty of cap space, a fine roster and could offer Brady the sanctuary of their dome for home games. Yet, it is hard to see Brady winding up at Lucas Oil Stadium given it was the Colts' complaint in the 2014 'Deflategate' scandal that led to the quarterback being suspended.

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Fans of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are sure to be among the happiest that Brady is finally leaving the AFC East.

Only what if he does not and Brady takes his talents to South Beach ala LeBron 10 years ago? The Dolphins, awash with cap space, could sign Brady and draft his long-term replacement Tua Tagovailoa to sit behind him and return to fitness.

Brian Flores, the former Patriots defensive coordinator, is the head coach in Miami, but his team are still in the early years of a rebuild - not the type of situation for a 40-something starting QB. Unless he really wants to stick it to Belichick and the Pats....

 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

How about this for a Hollywood ending: The boyhood 49ers fan moves back home and rides off into the sunset after winning a seventh Super Bowl ring.

San Francisco came agonisingly close to winning it all last month only to fall short against the Chiefs, leading to Jimmy Garoppolo's naysayers to raise their concerns about his suitability as a franchise quarterback.

It would be some twist given Garoppolo once backed Brady up and was seen as his heir apparent, though Jimmy G's 2019 performances suggested he should be the present and future for Kyle Shanahan's team.

 

DENVER BRONCOS

Could Brady follow in Peyton Manning's footsteps and head to Mile High? Manning won a second ring as a Bronco in a perfect example of a veteran quarterback taking a talented team over the line, even if he was far from his best in Super Bowl 50.

John Elway drafted Drew Lock last year and though he produced some encouraging signs as a rookie, the Broncos head honcho said they would "always talk" to Brady if he became available. Consider them among the wildcards.

Cam Newton claimed the Carolina Panthers "forced" him into seeking a trade as he delivered an angry response to the team's story on his expected departure.

The Panthers released a statement on Tuesday saying they had "given Cam Newton permission to seek a trade", ending a nine-year run for the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Though new Carolina head coach Matt Rhule stated earlier in the offseason that he "absolutely" wanted to keep the 2015 NFL MVP on the roster, the news comes as no surprise given foot and shoulder injuries have plagued Newton in recent seasons and the Panthers are rebuilding.

In the statement, general manager Marty Hurney said: "Every year difficult decisions are made and they are never easy. We have been working with Cam and his agent to find the best fit for him moving forward and he will always be a Carolina Panther in our hearts."

However, the wording of the statement - and the suggestion it was the Panthers who had allowed Newton to explore other options - led to the 30-year-old biting back.

"Stop with the word play!!" he wrote in an Instagram comment under the team's story.

"I never asked for it!! There is no dodging this one; I love the @panthers to death and will always love you guys!!

"Please do not try and play me or manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this; you forced me into this!!"

Tight end Greg Olsen, who signed for the Seattle Seahawks last month after being released by Carolina, wrote in a comment: "Sounds familiar".

Newton, who led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50, where they lost to the Denver Broncos, is set to leave Carolina having thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions in his career.

The Carolina Panthers have given Cam Newton permission to seek a trade.

Carolina announced they would allow the 2011 first overall pick to explore opportunities to join a new team on Tuesday following a meeting between the 2015 NFL MVP and general manager Marty Hurney.

"One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft," Hurney told the team's official website.

"Every year difficult decisions are made and they are never easy. We have been working with Cam and his agent to find the best fit for him moving forward and he will always be a Carolina Panther in our hearts."

Newton led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 but was unable to cap his MVP season with the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy as Carolina suffered a 24-10 defeat to the Denver Broncos.

More recently, Newton's career has been blighted by injury. He played through a shoulder issue in 2018 as a once-promising Panthers season saw them miss the playoffs.

Last year, Newton featured in only two games before a Lisfranc fracture in his foot forced him to watch the rest of a 5-11 season from the sidelines.

Newton's prospective exit is the most significant step in the Panthers' rebuild under new head coach Matt Rhule, who replaced Ron Rivera in January.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Newton is set to leave the Panthers having thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions in his career in Carolina.

The Panthers are rumoured to have strong interest in former Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as a potential replacement for Newton.

Carolina also hold the number seven overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Bill Belichick stressed he "will always have a great relationship" with Tom Brady after it was confirmed the quarterback will leave the New England Patriots.

Brady and Belichick enjoyed a hugely successful two-decade run as head coach and quarterback in New England, winning six Lombardi Trophies and reaching the Super Bowl on nine occasions.

Yet while Belichick will be back on the New England sideline in 2020, 42-year-old Brady will be elsewhere having confirmed he will be signing elsewhere in free agency.

There have been murmurings that the two have not always seen eye to eye in recent years, yet Belichick paid a glowing tribute to the outgoing Brady in an official statement from the Patriots.

"Tom was not just a player who bought into our programme, he was one of its original creators," Belichick said.

"Tom lived and perpetuated our culture. On a daily basis, he was a tone setter and a bar raiser. He won championships in three of his first four years on the field and in three of his final six seasons with us, while competing for championships in most every season in between. 

"This is a credit to Tom's consistency and what separates him. He didn't just perform. He didn't just win. He won championships over and over again.

"Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation. Tom's success as a player and his character as a person are exceptional. 

"Nothing about the end of Tom's Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was. With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone's adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.

"Examples of Tom's greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted. We witnessed how he prepared when he wasn't playing, how he performed when he got his opportunity, what he did to continuously improve, his leadership, his mindset, the example he set, and, of course, the person he is. I am extremely grateful for what he did for our team and for me personally.

"Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom. He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time."

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who, like Belichick, held his post when Brady was drafted in 2000, admitted it had been his wish to see the quarterback retire in New England.

"I love Tom like a son and I always will," Kraft said.

"He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. I had hoped this day would never come, but rather that Tom would end his remarkable career in a Patriots uniform after yet another Super Bowl championship.

"Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality."

Kraft added: "There simply will never be another Tom Brady."

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has revealed his disappointment at Tom Brady's departure, but stressed the long-serving quarterback has "earned that right" to decide to move on.

Free agent Brady confirmed on Tuesday that "my football journey will take place elsewhere", bringing an end to a glorious two-decade run in New England that included six Super Bowl titles.

Kraft was the owner when Brady was drafted with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft and he had said earlier this offseason that he hoped the 42-year-old either remained with the Patriots, or retired.

But Kraft will not get his wish, having spoken with Brady on Monday and being informed of his intentions.

"Tommy initiated contact last night and came over," Kraft explained to ESPN.

"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."

Brady added that he does not "know what my football future holds", though it is thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers will be among those keen to acquire the veteran quarterback in free agency.

Tom Brady - the most successful quarterback in NFL history - has confirmed he will leave the New England Patriots.

Speculation over Brady's future has swirled since the Patriots, with whom he has won a record six Super Bowls, were eliminated from last season's playoffs in the wildcard round by the Tennessee Titans.

In a Twitter post on Tuesday titled 'FOREVER A PATRIOT', the 42-year-old signal caller revealed he will now look to continue his "football journey" elsewhere.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have emerged as the favourites to sign Brady, although the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are also among the many franchises to have been linked with the veteran.

"To all my team-mates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK 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," wrote Brady.

"I am grateful for all that you have taught me - I have learned from everyone. You all have allowed me to maximize my potential and that is all a player can ever hope for. 

"Everything we have accomplished brings me great joy and the lessons I have learned will carry on with me forever. 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. I cherished every opportunity I had to be part of our team, and I love you all for that. Our team has always set a great standard in pro sports and I know it will continue to do just that.

"Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments.

"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."

After famously being drafted in round six in 2000 as the 199th overall pick, Brady became the Patriots' starting QB in his second season and immediately won Super Bowl XXXVI, also claiming MVP honours.

A further five Super Bowl successes followed, with Brady the MVP in three of the games.

He will leave the Patriots having thrown for 74,571 yards and 541 touchdowns - tallies topped only by Drew Brees in NFL history - in 285 appearances.

In a second Twitter post titled 'LOVE YOU PATS NATION', he added: "I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters.

"MA 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 - I wish every player could experience it. My children were born and raised here and you always embraced this California kid as your own. I love your commitment and loyalty to your teams and winning for our city means more than you will ever know.

"I can't thank you enough for the support of our team. The packed training camps and sold out stadiums and mostly the victory parades. I have been so blessed to share them with you all.

"I tried to represent us always in the best and most honorable way, and I fought hard with my team-mates to help bring victory and triumph even in the most dire situations. You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you. And Pats Nation will always be a part of me. 

"I don't know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will always love you and what we have shared - a lifetime full of fun memories."

While Brady's Patriots career has been studded with countless highs, one notable low point came with the 'Deflategate' scandal in the 2014 AFC Championship Game, which resulted in him being suspended for four matches following a lengthy investigation involving numerous court rulings.

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