If he had his way, Patriots owner Robert Kraft would have that happen only in New England.
Prior to Saturday’s loss to the Titans, in what could be Brady’s final game with the team, Kraft told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America that he understood the business realities of Brady’s pending free agency.
“Before the season started,” Kraft said, “it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year. You know what I said to myself? That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to six Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right. I love the young man like he’s part of my family. Blood family. Anyone who’s done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years.
“And you know, my hope and prayer is number one, he play for the Patriots. Or number two, he retires. He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what’s in his own best personal interest.”
If that ends up being playing for another team, it would be tough for Kraft to watch, the way it was to see Johnny Unitas with the Chargers and other undistinguished final chapters.
“I’m thinking of all that, of all the quarterbacks who went elsewhere, and I just hope and believe that Tom . . . he is so special that he’s earned the right to do what’s best for him,” Kraft said. “But I just hope and pray we fit into his plans. He is unique in the kind of leader he is, his work ethic, his selfless nature, everything. Think about it: He’s been with us 20 percent of the life of the NFL.”
Convincing Brady will be one thing. Convincing Bill Belichick that it’s the right thing to do for the team might be a tougher challenge.