Kraft said Thursday during an appearance on CNN he’d like to bring Brady back to New England to officially retire as a member of the franchise with which he won six Super Bowls and helped transform into an NFL powerhouse.
“I’d do it tomorrow. … Not only do I want it, our fans are clamoring for it,” Kraft said. “To us, he always has been and always will be a Patriot, and we will be bringing him back.
“I don’t want to make a commitment for him, but we will do everything in our power to bring him back, have him sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honor him for many years to come, because he did so much to bring life and good cheer to our community and he’s a beloved figure and he’s earned the respect and love that people feel for him like no other athlete in our town, and we’ve had some great ones.”
Brady is as beloved as it gets in New England, where he arrived as an overlooked sixth-round pick and took the field only after entrenched starter Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury during the 2001 season. With the help of a stifling defense and potent rushing attack, Brady piloted the Patriots to their first Super Bowl triumph, taking down the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in a thrilling finish that included a game-winning drive engineered by Brady and capped by kicker Adam Vinatieri.
At the time, Brady’s rise to prominence appeared to be a heartwarming Cinderella story. Twenty-two years later, Brady retired as a legend of the game and the greatest quarterback in football history.
Much of his career achievements came in a Patriots uniform, leading New England to nine Super Bowl appearances and six triumphs. He moved on from the Patriots, with whom Brady’s relationship had become strained, heading south to Tampa and powering the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory in his first season with the franchise.
Kraft believes it is only appropriate Brady end his career as a Patriot. There’s no guarantee Brady will retire as a member of any team — in his video posted to social media, he admitted he’d already used his lengthy farewell a year ago, when he retired for 40 days before returning to the Buccaneers — but Kraft’s Thursday statement stands as an olive branch extended toward the best to ever play the position.
Image & Story Credit: nfl.com