As Tom Brady‘s 20-year run with the New England Patriots comes to an end, his former teammates, competitors, and other athletes around the globe are reflecting on the quarterback’s unmatched success with the team.
On Tuesday, the 42-year-old announced his decision to leave the Patriots after becoming a free agent for the first time — a major move for Brady’s NFL career.
Shortly after Brady — the winningest quarterback in NFL history — shared the news on social media, his post garnered tens of thousands of comments from fans and followers reacting to his unprecedented career move.
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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant commented, “Blessings champ. Can’t wait to watch the next chapter,” while NFL free agent Antonio Brown responded with “🐐,” seemingly calling Brady the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time).
Former NFL player Deion Sanders added, “Pure Class!💯.”
Boston Celtics player Jayson Tatum simply left a goat and praise hands emoji on Brady’s post.
“Thank you for EVERYTHING!!! 🐐,” added UFC president Dana White.
David Ortiz, a 20-season-long MLB star, chimed, “@tombrady we will miss you on that field homie 🐐”
“The journey continues my brudda @tombrady 💯💪🏾,” replied former New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Actor and former professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson wrote that Brady’s announcement was “spoken like a true & grateful leader.”
“Hate to see you leave, but support you whoever you go, brother 🥃,” he added.
Several of Brady’s former teammates also spoke out about the bombshell news.
Cody Kessler, a quarterback for the Patriots, responded, “Love you brotha, thanks again for everything over this past year! Wish nothing but the best for you and your family! 🐐” while wide receiver Jakobi Meyers added, “Legend, it was an honor.”
“Don’t worry about anything but you and your family boss!” commented teammate Patrick Chung. “It’s been a pleasure man. Thank you for being you. Not even the QB but just the man you are. You’re wife and kids have a amazing person to call their father and husband. Until we meet again boss!”
“Love you brother! Thank you for everything!” said Patriots player Jarrett Stidham.
It is still unclear what team Brady will now join.
The quarterback was drafted by the Patriots in 2000 and won six Super Bowl championships with the team.
Speaking directly to his “incredible” New England fans, Brady wrote in his announcement that the “support has been overwhelming” and that he wishes “every player could experience it.”
“I love your commitment and loyalty to your teams and winning for out city means more than you will ever know,” Brady wrote. “… 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 teammates to help bring victory and triumph even in the most dire situations,” he continued. “You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you.”
He added: “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.”
Speculation about Brady’s future has been swirling since the Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans in the first week of the playoffs, ending the team’s 2019-2020 season and their Super Bowl run.
Still, in January, Brady assured fans that he wouldn’t be retiring and alluded to his allegiance to the Patriots.
He further shut down retirement rumors in a Hulu advertisement that aired during Super Bowl LIV, assuring, “I’m not going anywhere.”
A source told PEOPLE of Brady at the time, “He will definitely play next year he is just not sure where yet. He is not retiring.”