Patriots to honor Tom Brady at Sunday’s home opener
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Patriots to honor Tom Brady at Sunday’s home opener

The New England Patriots will honor quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday at the team’s home opener at Gillette Stadium. While Brady, who retired from the NFL for the second time in February, played his final seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he became known as the Greatest of All Time during his time in New England.”The greatest player in the history of the game played right here in Foxboro, and I’m happy to tell you…I invited him back to come here and be with us at the opening game,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement posted by the team. Brady is under contract to join Fox Sports as the network’s lead football analyst. That 10-year deal is reportedly worth $375 million.Brady left the game as the NFL’s career leader in yards passing (89,214) and touchdowns (649). He’s the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and has been MVP of the game five times. He also holds marks for regular-season wins (251), Super Bowl appearances (10), playoff games and wins (48, 35), as well as playoff yards (13,400) and TDs (88).Famously underrated coming into the NFL — he was picked 199th in the 2000 draft by the Patriots, behind six other quarterbacks, three kickers and a punter — Brady certainly wasn’t expected to become synonymous with greatness. He played in one game as a rookie, completing one of three passes for six yards.The next year, it all changed.Brady took over as the Patriots’ starter, the team beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl that capped the 2001 season, and he and New England coach Bill Belichick were well on their way to becoming the most successful coach-QB duo in football history.”Tom Brady was the ultimate winner. He entered the NFL with little to no fanfare and leaves as the most successful player in league history,” Belichick said in a statement. “His relentless pursuit of excellence drove him on a daily basis. His work ethic and desire to win were both motivational and inspirational to teammates and coaches alike. Tom was a true professional who carried himself with class and integrity throughout his career. I thank Tom for the positive impact he had on me and on the Patriots and congratulate him on his amazing career.”More Super Bowl wins came after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Patriots returned to football’s mountaintop for a fourth time in Brady’s era a decade later to cap the 2014 season, the start of three more titles in a span of five years.Brady signed with Tampa Bay in free agency in 2020 and added a seventh Super Bowl ring to his collection in his first season with his new team. The Bucs won 37 games (including postseason) with Brady at quarterback — third most in the league over the past three seasons behind Kansas City (46) and Buffalo (41).He set league single-season records for completions (490) and pass attempts (733) while throwing for 4,643 yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his final season. The Bucs, however, ranked dead last in rushing offense and, forced to rely almost solely on Brady’s arm, struggled to get the ball into the end zone.After scoring 61 touchdowns in 2021, Tampa Bay slipped to 31 last season and averaged just 18.4 points per game — down from over 30 in Brady’s first two seasons with the Bucs.Brady won three NFL MVP awards, was a first-team All-Pro three times and was selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times.

The New England Patriots will honor quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday at the team’s home opener at Gillette Stadium.

While Brady, who retired from the NFL for the second time in February, played his final seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he became known as the Greatest of All Time during his time in New England.

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“The greatest player in the history of the game played right here in Foxboro, and I’m happy to tell you…I invited him back to come here and be with us at the opening game,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement posted by the team.

Brady is under contract to join Fox Sports as the network’s lead football analyst. That 10-year deal is reportedly worth $375 million.

Brady left the game as the NFL’s career leader in yards passing (89,214) and touchdowns (649). He’s the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and has been MVP of the game five times. He also holds marks for regular-season wins (251), Super Bowl appearances (10), playoff games and wins (48, 35), as well as playoff yards (13,400) and TDs (88).

Famously underrated coming into the NFL — he was picked 199th in the 2000 draft by the Patriots, behind six other quarterbacks, three kickers and a punter — Brady certainly wasn’t expected to become synonymous with greatness. He played in one game as a rookie, completing one of three passes for six yards.

The next year, it all changed.

Brady took over as the Patriots’ starter, the team beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl that capped the 2001 season, and he and New England coach Bill Belichick were well on their way to becoming the most successful coach-QB duo in football history.

“Tom Brady was the ultimate winner. He entered the NFL with little to no fanfare and leaves as the most successful player in league history,” Belichick said in a statement. “His relentless pursuit of excellence drove him on a daily basis. His work ethic and desire to win were both motivational and inspirational to teammates and coaches alike. Tom was a true professional who carried himself with class and integrity throughout his career. I thank Tom for the positive impact he had on me and on the Patriots and congratulate him on his amazing career.”

More Super Bowl wins came after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Patriots returned to football’s mountaintop for a fourth time in Brady’s era a decade later to cap the 2014 season, the start of three more titles in a span of five years.

Brady signed with Tampa Bay in free agency in 2020 and added a seventh Super Bowl ring to his collection in his first season with his new team. The Bucs won 37 games (including postseason) with Brady at quarterback — third most in the league over the past three seasons behind Kansas City (46) and Buffalo (41).

He set league single-season records for completions (490) and pass attempts (733) while throwing for 4,643 yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his final season. The Bucs, however, ranked dead last in rushing offense and, forced to rely almost solely on Brady’s arm, struggled to get the ball into the end zone.

After scoring 61 touchdowns in 2021, Tampa Bay slipped to 31 last season and averaged just 18.4 points per game — down from over 30 in Brady’s first two seasons with the Bucs.

Brady won three NFL MVP awards, was a first-team All-Pro three times and was selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times.

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