Bill Belichick Throws Subtle Shade in Statement on Tom Brady’s Retirement

The cold war between the longtime collaborators continues even though Brady is no longer part of the NFL

Tom Brady talks to Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots before a game with the Cowboys. In a statement about Brady's retirement, Belichick offered some subtle shade.
Tom Brady talks to Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots before a game with the Cowboys.
Adam Glanzman/Getty

Approximately 36 hours after Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL and intentionally didn’t mention the Patriots or any member or fan of the organization he was a part of for two decades, longtime New England coach Bill Belichick released a statement about the 44-year-old leaving professional football.

Although complimentary of Brady overall, Belichick’s statement contained a few phrases that could be considered shots at the seven-time Super Bowl winner. In the first line of the statement, Belichick also patted himself on the back for drafting Brady in the sixth round as an unheralded quarterback coming out of Michigan and implied he deserved some credit for “Tom’s humble beginning in professional football” ending with him becoming “the best player in NFL history.” He also complimented Brady’s class, integrity and kindness, all of which were called into question when Brady snubbed the Patriots and his legions of fans in New England in his retirement statement.

“I am privileged to have drafted and coached Tom Brady, the ultimate competitor and winner,” Belichick wrote. “Tom’s humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history. Tom consistently performed at the highest level against competition that always made him the number one player to stop. His pursuit of excellence was inspirational. Tom was professional on and off the field, and carried himself with class, integrity, and kindness. I thank Tom for his relentless pursuit of excellence and positive impact on me and the New England Patriots for 20 years.”

Brady responded to Belichick’s statement with a brief, over-the-top and potentially facetious message in his Instagram Stories, essentially a thank-you note written in digital disappearing ink.

Had Brady actually wanted to compliment his longtime coach as the greatest in NFL history somewhere that would remain on the record, he would have included a line or two about Belichick in his official retirement statement. Instead, Brady only mentioned Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians, an individual he was coached by for two seasons.

Though neither side has overtly taken a shot at the other, the cold war between the Patriots and Brady appears to be back on after many thought it was over following Tampa Bay’s win over New England in Week 4 of the NFL season. Following Tampa’s 19-17 win at Gillette Stadium, Brady and Belichick met privately for 20 minutes and it was assumed a truce had been reached. Based on what has occurred over the past few days, it appears that is not the case.

“We got a personal relationship, you know, for 20-plus years. He drafted me here,” Brady told reporters after the meeting. “I got a lot of respect for him as a coach and obviously a lot of respect for this organization and all the different people here that try to make it successful.”

Enough respect not to mention a single one of them in his retirement statement. The cold war continues … as does Brady’s attempt at damage control. (The following was posted the morning after Belichick’s statement was issued.)

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