TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady says it was “just time” to move on from the New England Patriots and begin another chapter in his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The six-time Super Bowl champion spoke Wednesday about a wide range of topics in an interview spanning more than two hours with radio talk-show host Howard Stern, including his marriage, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the decision to leave New England after a historic 20-year run.
“I would say I probably knew before the start of last season that it was my last year ... that our time, you know, was coming to an end,” the 42-year-old quarterback told Stern on SiriusXM Radio, adding that he’s not concerned how leaving the only NFL team he has played for might affect his legacy.
Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs in free agency, joining a team with the worst winning percentage in league history.
Tampa Bay hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007 and doesn’t have a postseason win since its lone Super Bowl championship run 18 years ago.
“I never cared about legacy. ... I never once, when I was in high school, said, ‘Man, I can’t wait for what my football legacy looks like.’ I mean, that’s just not me. That’s not my personality. So why would I choose a different place? It’s because it was just time. I don’t know what to say other than that,” Brady said.
“I had done everything. I accomplished everything I could in two decades with an incredible organization, an incredible group of people. That will never change,” the three-time NFL MVP said. “And no one can ever take that away from me. No one can ever take those experiences or Super Bowl championships away from us.”
Brady also talked about his relationship with Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, moving his family into a mansion owned by Derek Jeter in Tampa and his marriage to supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
He reiterated there has never been a rift between him and Belichick over who was most responsible for the success of the Patriots, who played in nine Super Bowls and 13 AFC championship games and won 17 division titles over the past two decades.
“I can’t do his job and he can’t do mine. So the fact that you could say: ‘Would I be successful without him, the same level of success?’ I don’t believe I would have been. But I feel the same in vice-versa as well,” Brady said. “To have him allowed me to be the best I could be. So I’m grateful for that. And I very much believe that he feels the same about me.”
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.