Tom Brady has announced his departure from the New England Patriots after a glittering 20-year spell in which he won a record six Super Bowls.
Brady was among the first players drafted by then new Patriots head coach Bill Belichick when he was selected a lowly 199th out of the University of Michigan two decades ago, and together the two men forged a dynasty in New England to break numerous NFL records.
Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, and was on the winning team with the Patriots at the end of the 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018 seasons - the latter making him the oldest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl at the age of 41.
His latest contract with the team expired this off-season, leading to much speculation about his next move, and though his future is unclear he announced yesterday it will not be in New England.
In a lengthy statement posted in two parts on social media, Brady said: "To all my team-mates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organisation, I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values...
"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."
Following Brady's announcement, Belichick issued a statement in which he called him the "greatest quarterback of all time".
"Tom was not just a player who bought into our program," Belichick said.
"He was one of its original creators. Tom lived and perpetuated our culture.
"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 almost every season in between.
"This is a credit to Tom's consistency."