He’s expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL said later on Tuesday.
In a series of tweets, the three-time league MVP thanked fans and the Patriots before dropping the bombshell that “my football journey will take place elsewhere.”
“I don’t know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career,” the 42-year-old said.
Free agency officially begins for Brady and other eligible NFL players on Wednesday.
Brady also won four Super Bowl MVP awards during his career, cementing his celebrity far beyond football. He has been the subject of intense speculation over whether he would stay with the Patriots after the team lost to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC wild-card playoff game.
Brady discussed his decision with Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday.
“Tommy initiated contact last night and came over,” Kraft told ESPN. “We had a positive, respectful discussion. It’s not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son.”
Lydia O’Connor contributed reporting.
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