Tom Brady Knew 2019 Would ‘Probably’ Be His Last With Patriots

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady

Getty Could Bill Belichick really be OK moving on from Tom Brady?

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is opening up about his exit from the New England Patriots after 20 years and six Super Bowl titles with the storied franchise. During a Wednesday morning appearance on The Howard Stern Show, the 42-year-old pinpointed when he knew it would be his last dance in New England.

“I probably knew before the start of last season it was my last year,” according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

When asked why he ultimately decided to leave Foxborough, Brady says it was “just time.”

“I never cared about legacies,” Brady explained “I could give a s–t…that’s not me, that’s not my personality. Why did I choose a different place? Because it was just time.”

Brady Opens up About Relationship With Belichick

Nonetheless, Brady had nothing but accolades about former head coach Bill Belichick, putting to rest talks of animosity between the two and whether either of them can succeed without the other.

“I think he has a lot of loyalty,” the California native said. “I think that there were a lot of wrong assumptions made about our relationship.

“I think it’s a pretty s—ty argument actually that people would say that, because again, I can’t do his job, and he can’t do mine,” Brady said, via ESPN. “So the fact 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 vice versa, as well.

“To have him allowed me to be the best I can be, so I’m grateful for that. I very much believe that he feels the same way about me, because we’ve expressed that to each other.”

Even though he won’t be responding to calls from the veteran manager this upcoming season, he doesn’t harbor any animosity about Belichick not making him a Patriot for the entirety of his career.

“No, absolutely not,” Brady assured. “No, because this is a part for me, in my life, to experience something very different. There are ways for me to grow and evolve in a different way that I haven’t had the opportunity to do — that aren’t right or wrong, but just right for me.”

The Michigan product also discussed whether Belichick’s loyalty was a catalyst behind his departure.

“I think he has a lot of loyalty. He and I have had a lot of conversations that nobody has ever been privy to, nor should they be, that so many wrong assumptions were made about our relationship or about how he felt about me. I know genuinely how he feels about me,” Brady asserted. “Now I’m not going to respond to every rumor or assumption that’s made, other than what his responsibility as coach is to get the best player for the team — not only in the short term but in the long term as well.”

Brady on New Head Coach Arians: ‘I Like Him a Lot’

Looking toward the future, Brady had nothing but positive sentiments about working with new head coach Bruce Arians.

“I like him a lot and…me even being a free agent, I learned so much having an opportunity evaluate what was important to me…he’s definitely someone that tells you straight, and I appreciate that, too.”

Of course, everyone will remember Brady as one of the best to throw a football. Before signing off with Stern, Brady quickly reflected on the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, sharing some lessons he learned about the Los Angeles Lakers’ star untimely January 26 death.

Via Rick Stroud: “I think if you learned anything from what’s going on in this day and age, even as it relates to Kobe Bryant, I mean Kobe thought he had a long life too…he and I had the same mentality…we all think we’re going to live forever.”

READ NEXT: Bucs’ Tom Brady, Chris Godwin Reach Settlement Over No. 12 Jersey

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