New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posted a lengthy message to Instagram on Wednesday in which he thanked fans, lamented the end of his 2019 season and addressed rumors regarding his future in the league.
Though the heartfelt photo caption was largely directed at loyal Patriots supporters, the words also resonated with several of Brady's teammates, opponents around the league and even a few superstar celebrities.
One player in particular who was struck by Brady's message was veteran Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, who played alongside the quarterback in 2019 as well as from 2004 to 2009, a span during which the Patriots appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one.
I just wanted to say to all of our fans, THANK YOU! After a few days of reflection, I am so grateful and humbled by the unconditional support you have shown me the past two decades. Running out of that tunnel every week is a feeling that is hard to explain. I wish every season ended in a win, but that’s not the nature of sports (or life). Nobody plays to lose. But the reward for working hard is just that, the work!! I have been blessed to find a career I love, teammates who go to battle with me, an organization that believes in me, and fans who have been behind us every step of the way. Every one of us that works at Gillette Stadium strived to do their best, spent themselves at a worthy cause, and prepared to fail while daring greatly (h/t Teddy Roosevelt). And for that, we’ve been rewarded with something that the scoreboard won’t show - the satisfaction of knowing we gave everything to each other in pursuit of a common goal. That is what TEAM is all about. In both life and football, failure is inevitable. You dont always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove.
A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on Jan 8, 2020 at 5:50am PST
While Brady used his platform to send his thanks to Patriots fans, Watson commented that it was Brady himself who actually deserved a thank you.
"Your leadership is an inspiration, your example exemplary, and your fire is contagious," Watson penned in the comments of Brady's post. "Generations of players have been blessed to take the field and share the locked room with you. You made everyone better and made us appreciate this game all the more."
The veteran tight end wrapped up his message by saying this decade, like the last two, needs Tom Brady in it as well and called himself a "fan for life."
The vast majority of comments on Brady's post appeared supportive of the quarterback as he mulls his future in the league, though he made it clear that he currently has no plans to retire. Teammates Deatrich Wise Jr., Sony Michel, Danny Shelton and backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham all made their love for Brady clear.
Rapper Diddy, actor Mark Wahlberg and tennis star Venus Williams also left messages for Brady, with Williams calling herself his "biggest fan."
Brady is set to become a free agent when the league year ends this March, with many speculating that he could leave the Patriots. Team owner Robert Kraft has openly stated that he hopes Brady returns to New England in 2020.