Longtime New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced on Tuesday that his football journey "will continue elsewhere" after 20 seasons and six Super Bowl victories with the Massachusetts-based team.
Addressing Pats Nation, Brady released a statement on his social media accounts thanking his coaches, fans, and teammates.
"Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments. I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and everyone of you, and to have the memories we've created together," he wrote.
Brady has won six Super Bowl championships — and appeared in nine — with the Patriots. It had been rumored for some time that the three-time MVP would be leaving the Patriots this season.
Last August, he signed a contract that allowed him to become a free agent for the first time in his career, after being the 199th selection in the 2000 NFL Draft.
It is not yet known where Brady, 42, will play next. NFL Network reported that the Los Angeles Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have expressed interest in signing Brady.
The NFL's free agency officially begins on March 18 at 4 p.m. ET.
“I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters,” Brady said Tuesday. "MA has been my home for twenty years. It has truly been the happiest two decades I could have envisioned in my life and I have nothing but love and gratitude for my time in New England. The support has been overwhelming — I wish every player could experience it."
Leadership of the Patriots, including coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, released statements praising Brady and his career.
"Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation," Belichick said. "Tom's success as a player and his character as a person are exceptional. Nothing about the end of Tom's Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was."
Belichick said it was a "privilege" to coach Brady for 20 years.
"How do I possibly sum up the depth of my gratitude to Tom Brady for what he's given us these past 20 years, or the sadness I feel knowing it's ending?" Kraft said. "I love Tom like a son and I always will. He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. I had hoped this day would never come, but rather that Tom would end his remarkable career in a Patriots uniform after yet another Super Bowl championship. Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality."
He went on to say that "there will never be another Tom Brady."
Earlier this month, Brady announced he was also launching a film and television production company, 199 productions, to produce shows that will feature himself and others.
The first project, Unseen Football, is a 3D documentary with Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of Avengers: Endgame.
"Exciting times ahead, on and off the field!" Brady said on March 9.
Joe and Anthony Russo's surname was misstated in an earlier version of this post.