The writing was on the wall for the eventual Tom Brady-New England Patriots breakup. And the former Patriots quarterback saw it as early as the beginning of last season, he said Wednesday on “The Howard Stern Show.”
“I don’t think there was a final, final decision until it happened,” Brady said of his decision to leave New England and sign with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. “But I would say I probably knew before the start of last season that it was my last year. I knew that it was just — our time was coming to an end.”
Prior to last season, Brady and the Patriots reworked his contract so that for the first time in his career he could become a free agent at the end of the season, as it restricted the use of the franchise tag.
New England struggled offensively as the season went on, exacerbated by the lack of weapons at Brady’s disposal. The three-time MVP finished with his lowest passer rating since 2013, and the Patriots made their earliest playoff exit in a decade.
Brady will certainly have upgrades in Tampa Bay with receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, but it wasn’t the deciding factor in his decision to pick Tampa Bay. Over the course of his two-hour interview, he mentioned that the weather and a new challenge were other components — on a list that reached almost 20, Brady said — behind the move.
Ultimately, it was “time to move on,” Brady said.
“I don’t know what to say other than that,” Brady said. “I accomplished everything I could in two decades with an incredible organization, an incredible group of people, and that will never change. No one can ever take that away from me, no one can ever take those experiences or Super Bowl championships away from us.”