Tom Brady found his new team “intriguing” before officially taking the plunge and leaving the New England Patriots to become a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
In a media call with reporters on Tuesday, including PEOPLE, Brady spoke about his decision to play for the Florida team after becoming a free agent following 20 years with the Patriots.
“There are a lot of things that were intriguing to me about the organization and the players and the coaches and the willingness to try to accomplish what the goal of playing football is, which is to win,” Brady, 42, said.
Brady joined the Patriots when the team selected him with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft.
Then, on Friday, Brady announced that he decided to sign with the Buccaneers.
“Excited, humble and hungry … if there is one thing I have learned about football, it’s that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that … you earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day,” he shared on Instagram. “I’m starting a new football journey and thankful for the @buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do.”
On Tuesday’s call, Brady did not refute the report that he wanted to leave the Patriots.
“I’m not responsible for how other people will say certain things,” he said.
Referencing team owner Robert Kraft, he added, “I think Mr. Kraft has been a great influence in my life and I’m so grateful for the two decades, and, you know, I referenced that the other day, it’s been an amazing thing for my family.”
Brady told reporters, “When I’m done playing I’ll look back and have a chance to look back at my entire career, at the same time I’m excited for this opportunity that I have and I can only speak to how I feel.”
Further, the athlete and father of three insisted that no one has “been a bigger fan of the Patriots than me,” and that there’s “a lot of great relationships that will be maintained.”
Over the weekend, Kraft bought a full-page ad in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times to express his appreciation for Brady’s time on the Boston team.
“THANK YOU TOM,” the ad read, shared by ESPN reporter Mike Reiss on Twitter. “For 20 amazing years, you gave us everything you had. When you arrived as a sixth-round pick — and the best selection this franchise has ever made — no one imagined all you’d accomplish or how much you’d soon mean to an entire region. You now leave New England after two decades of dominance as the GOAT and forever a part of our family.”
“Your passion for the game, competitiveness and constant pursuit of excellence resulted in an unprecedented six Super Bowl victories, nine conference championships and 17 division titles,” it continued. “You’re now recognized as the greatest of all time for what you’ve accomplished on the field, but you’re an even better person. Thank you, Tom, for your countless contributions to the New England Patriots, and we wish you and your beautiful family continued success. There will never be another Tom Brady.”
Kraft ended his note by urging the Florida team to “take care” of the star quarterback.