Former New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon has credited Bill Belichick with helping Tom Brady become the greatest player in NFL history, saying the legendary duo "needed each other".

Belichick and the Patriots parted ways last week, bringing an end to one of the most remarkable coaching tenures in league history.

The 71-year-old led the Patriots for 24 seasons, overseeing 18 playoff visits and taking the team to nine Super Bowls, winning six of those showpiece games with the most recent coming in 2019.

However, New England missed the playoffs in three of their last four seasons under Belichick, prompting team owner Robert Kraft to replace his long-serving coach with former linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.

Some have suggested Belichick's failure to win a Super Bowl without Brady diminishes his achievements somewhat, with the coach's overall NFL record without the quarterback standing at 85-102, but Harmon does not subscribe to that view.

"I think both those guys are motivated by one thing; being the best they can each and every day," Harmon – who played for Belichick's Patriots between 2013 and 2019 – told Stats Perform.

"Tom's job would be to be the best quarterback and rally his team. Bill's job was to be the best head coach and rally his team as well, and to make sure the coaches understand his vision so they can pass it to the players and put the best product on the field. 

"It's easy to try to put those two against each other, but I think at the end of the day, they needed each other. 

"They understand that they couldn't have accomplished what they accomplished in New England without each other.

"I think there's a great amount of respect that they have for each other. I'm still grateful and appreciative that I got to be around the greatest quarterback and the greatest head coach of all time."

Brady did manage to win one more title after he and Belichick parted ways in 2020, collecting his seventh ring by leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to glory at Super Bowl LV.

Harmon does not believe Brady was motivated by a desire to prove he could succeed without Belichick, saying: "I truly don't believe he needs any extra motivation. 

"This guy wanted to be the best player that he can be every day, whether it was with the Buccaneers, whether it was with the Patriots, he just wants to get the best out of himself every day. 

"I don't think it was, 'I want to prove I could do this without Bill', I think more so it was just him going to Tampa and doing what he does. 

"The thing that people don't realise, and I know Tom was always a great competitor, but the cultural style that came from Bill to him is what I believe gave him that extra motivation, that extra push to make Tom truly who he is. 

"As a young player, when he first took from Drew Bledsoe [in 2001], it was a very veteran-based team, so he wanted to gain the respect of not only the players, but also Bill Belichick. 

"Bill pushed him as best he could to be the best that he could be, and in the end, he became the best ever."

Having won three Super Bowls in six years in New England, Harmon is uniquely placed to offer an insight into the relationship between Belichick and Brady at the height of the Patriots' dominance.

"It was like yin and yang. It was Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson," he recalled.

"I was fortunate enough to be captain one year with the Patriots and saw how they interacted in the captains' meeting and how they were always on the same page. 

"There were times when Bill got on Tom in front of everybody, and it wasn't to demean Tom, but it was to let everybody know that there is a standard in this organisation, it doesn't matter who you are, whether you're the best player or you're the last guy on the practice squad. 

"Seeing those guys work together allowed me to see what that head coach-quarterback partnership is supposed to look like at the highest level."

Wayne Rooney said his Birmingham squad need to show improvements as he was left frustrated by a “very bad” performance against Rotherham in the Sky Bet Championship as the Blues were held to a 0-0 draw.

Rooney and Birmingham were booed off the pitch after failing to defeat a struggling Rotherham side still winless on the road this season, with minority owner Tom Brady in attendance.

Rooney admitted it was not a good game and his side were fortunate to come away with a point.

“I thought we started the game really well for 20 minutes,” Rooney said.

“But we got sloppy, we got slow, and we created a lot of our own problems.

“We were probably fortunate in the end to come away with a point.

“A lot of things we need to address, basics of the game like heading the ball, it was not there today.”

On whether the current crop of players are good enough, he added: “Today was a really frustrating day.

“My job is to improve them as players so in the next six months we hope there will be changes because you want to bring players in and players will leave.

“It’s important we don’t get carried away we do have a lot of good players but today we should win that game.

“That’s an accountability the players need to understand.”

Rooney believed his team did not win the game because of complacency after a positive start.

“We haven’t won the game because we got complacent,” he said.

“I felt in the first 20 minutes we (found) it easy to get into their final third so the players then felt the game was a bit too easy for them.

“They get sloppy and forget to do the right things.”

Rooney also spoke of the presence of Brady at the game and at the training ground during the week, adding: “Tom was around all the players, and it was great to have him over.

“He was speaking to players individually, so the more he is here the better it is for us.”

Rotherham caretaker boss Wayne Carlisle felt the Millers deserved more than a point.

“I’m pleased with the performance but I’m slightly disappointed that we didn’t come out with the three points,” Carlisle said.

“We wanted a reaction after the Hull game (4-1 loss) and the boys rolled their sleeves up and gave a real Rotherham United performance.

“I’m delighted we were creating changes away from home and putting ourselves in these positions but disappointed we were not taking them.”

Carlisle said this result and the draw with Leeds last weekend can be a building block for his side and that he has a job to do until a new manager is appointed.

“I’ve got a job to do, my most important job is keeping the guys together and now it’s to try and win games of football until someone tells me I’m not doing it”, he added.

Tom Brady is determined to help Birmingham maximise their potential having become minority owner of a club he hopes to help with promotion on and off the field.

Jaws dropped on both sides of the Atlantic when the seven-time Super Bowl winner recently announced he was coming on board at the Championship club.

Brady has entered into a partnership with Birmingham’s new owners Knighthead Capital Management and taken a minority stake, as well as becoming chairman of their new advisory board.

The 46-year-old becomes the latest North American personality to sprinkle stardust on English football, with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney transforming Wrexham and former NFL star JJ Watt boosting Burnley.

The moves have undoubtedly helped raise those clubs’ profile and Brady hope to do the same, yet he insists his partnership is about more than bringing commercial benefits to Birmingham.

“Those guys have done a good job and I think they’ve done a good job promoting the club,” Brady told the PA news agency.

“I think for me it’s more than promotion. It’s about getting to understand what makes a great, successful team and organisation.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of some of those and to impart some of the things that I’ve learned over those years is part of me beyond my own personal playing career.

“There’s a different part of my career that I’m now starting and it will be deeply meaningful to me.”

Brady was speaking alongside chairman Tom Wagner, who led the takeover of a club that has been through its fair share of difficulties since relegation from the Premier League 12 years ago.

There was therefore an understandable air of hope and excitement on Saturday as Birmingham played their first home game since the new owners came in.

A bouncing St Andrew’s welcomed its biggest crowd since before the pandemic and celebrated the start of a new era in perfect fashion as Lukas Jutkiewicz smashed home a stoppage-time winner against Leeds.

“I would just say that today is just the beginning,” chairman Wagner said after Birmingham’s last-gasp 1-0 win. “What we have planned is well beyond what we’ve done thus far. It’s only been four weeks.

“Tom’s influence here I expect to have an enormous difference because of the quality of the experience that he brings and will bear great fruit in the years ahead.

“We’re really quite excited about what all that means for the club in the longer term.

“We view this as a marathon, not a sprint. I hate using that overused colloquialism but ultimately it really is.

“It’s something that we think really matters and having a long term vision is important.”

The first month has certainly been positive and Brady’s arrival has caught the imagination, with the former quarterback smiling when it was put to him some may see his arrival at Birmingham as a publicity stunt.

“I’ve got a little knowledge about sports!” the most decorated player in NFL history said. “It doesn’t mean I know everything.

“I’ve been in sports for a long time, so I’ve heard a lot of different things over a long period of time.

“Look, I think you’re here to learn and gain information and gain an understanding of why things work and why they don’t work.

“You don’t have all the answers coming over here to understand that, but the only way to do it is to come experience it and see where we can lend a hand to help the club win.”

Brady managed that on his first trip to St Andrew’s, giving the players an inspirational pep talk before they went out to beat recently-relegated Leeds.

Birmingham boss John Eustace said the star’s first day on the ground showed the benefit of his involvement, adding that “the vision that he’s got for the football club is amazing”.

Those lofty ambitions may not be achieved straightaway, but Brady has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to help the Blues flourish.

“I’m a great fan of sports and I see how it brings people together,” the Patriot, Buccaneer and now Bluenose added.

“I played games in this country and the world is global.

“We’re all travelling, we’re all a part of different things and I love sports, and I love teamwork, and I love winning, and I love a passionate fan base.

“I was an underdog myself, so to see a team that maybe hasn’t maximised its potential in a while, to be a part of that is a great opportunity and let’s see what we can make of it.”

NFL great Tom Brady expects his friend Harry Kane to benefit from “a new injection of energy” after joining Bayern Munich from Tottenham.

The 30-year-old ended his long association with the north Londoners on Saturday when he completed his £100million move to the perennial Bundesliga champions.

Kane said it felt like the right time to leave Tottenham after two decades with the club, just as Brady did when departing the New England Patriots in 2020.

The quarterback won six Super Bowls during his 20 years with the Pats and went on to win his seventh in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Huge NFL fan Kane has become friends with Brady over the years and the retired QB turned Birmingham minority owner believes the striker will thrive with his fresh start.

“I sent him a congratulatory note,” Brady told the PA news agency. “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time.

“He’s supported me over a long period of time, and I’m here to do the same for him.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

“I know sometimes when you move clubs there’s kind of an injection of energy.

“It’s a different environment, you want to go prove people wrong, you want to prove people right. And that’s a great feeling as an athlete.”

Birmingham received an inspirational pep talk from NFL great Tom Brady before a last-gasp victory against Leeds that boss John Eustace dedicated to the late Trevor Francis.

A sold-out St Andrew’s celebrated the club’s greatest ever player and an exciting future under new ownership as Daniel Farke’s relegated side came to the second city.

It is a month since American businessman Tom Wagner completed his takeover at Birmingham, who nine days ago saw seven-time Super Bowl winner Brady join as minority owner.

The former NFL star enjoyed a memorable first trip to St Andrew’s, visiting a local pub before meeting the players and watching a 1-0 stoppage-time win.

“The new owners came into the dressing room just as I was coming out and congratulated the lads,” Blues boss Eustace said. “It’s great to see Tom Brady in there as well.

“Tom spoke to the group before our meeting today, so that is great to have one of the most famous sporting people in the world come down and chat to the group.

“They were all very excited to listen to him and he gave us some real good words of advice.

“I think you can see today his presence at the club (is a benefit), the vision that he’s got for the football club is amazing.

“He wants this football club to be a world brand, he wants this Birmingham City family now all over the world, which is what we all want.

“We want this magnificent football club to grow and get better and be known all around the world.

“We’ve got a great person to come in and do that.”

Substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz’s stoppage-time penalty was the difference at the end of a tense match that began with a heartfelt tribute to Birmingham great Francis following his death in July.

“I’m delighted with the performance for the whole game,” Eustace said. “We dedicate that winner to Trevor Francis and his family. I think it marked a real special occasion.

“The boys today were outstanding with and without the ball.

“Tactically you have to be spot on against an excellent Leeds team and I think the level of concentration and the way the boys went about their business today was superb.”

Leeds counterpart Daniel Farke felt like a point would have been deserved from Saturday’s performance at St Andrew’s where the relegated side’s shortcomings were obvious.

“(This job) is exactly what I would have expected because I have been in the situation before,” the Leeds boss said.

“I know after relegation it’s never easy for the club. There is a hangover.

“It’s more like you’re getting used to having disappointing results (when relegated), there’s always question marks especially in the first transfer window.

“What makes it a bit different is the situation with the contract. We spoke quite openly about it, that there are exit clauses that makes the situation obviously also quite difficult.

“But I knew this before and, yeah, my decision for this massive club was really with full commitment and also totally convinced that we can lead the club in the middle and long term to success.

“We knew that the start would be bumpy and would be tricky and it’s not the easiest shop at the moment, but I mentioned before if it would be it would be easy everyone could do this and it wouldn’t be that much fun to turn our fate around.

“I know that it’s a hell of a task. I said this even in my first press conference and especially during August we have to be a bit patient.”

Lukas Jutkiewicz smashed home a stoppage-time winner against Leeds as Birmingham celebrated the life of Trevor Francis and the start a new era in front of NFL great Tom Brady.

There has been precious little to cheer about since the Blues’ relegation from the top flight 12 years ago, but the recent takeover led by American businessman Tom Wagner has finally brought hope back to the club.

Brady went onto join as minority owner nine days ago and the former quarterback made his first trip to a rocking St Andrew’s on Saturday as Birmingham secured a 1-0 win.

Substitute Jutkiewicz fired home from the penalty spot at the death in a dramatic end to a drab encounter on an emotional day in the second city.

Birmingham paid a touching tribute to their greatest ever player before-kick-off, with Jasper Carrott leading the tributes to Francis following his death last month.

The comedian said Francis was “a hero, a role model and a symbol of a time when there was real hope in this stadium” – a feeling of hope he felt was now back at St Andrew’s.

The positive feeling around the club brought the biggest crowd since February 2020 but the occasion did not live up to the hype in a poor first half devoid of opportunities.

Both sides improved after the break and pushed hard for a late winner, which went Birmingham’s way after Daniel James brought down Ethan Laird in the box.

Illan Meslier got a foot on Jutkiewicz’s thumping penalty but could not stop it finding the back of the net as seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady celebrated a successful first visit.

The performance, as much as a result, will alarm Daniel Farke’s Leeds – who were without wantaway Willy Gnonto and fellow forward Luis Sinisterra at St Andrew’s.

Neither team did anything of note in a first half that appeared to be impacted by the emotional start to proceedings.

The fact there was only one minute of added time at the end of the opening period highlighted just how uneventful it had been.

The second half began in brighter fashion and City’s Keshi Anderson met a Siriki Dembele cutback with a shot that deflected narrowly wide.

Leeds responded with a James cross-shot that forced John Ruddy into action, before Georginio Rutter saw a fierce drive blocked by Krystian Bielik moments after coming on.

John Eustace’s hosts had a huge chance in the 80th minute but Kevin Long powered a free header from six yards just off target.

Bacuna saw a driven effort held before Birmingham hearts were in mouths as Sam Byram glanced an effort across the face of goal in front of the 2,213 away fans.

But City were pushing hardest for the win and were gifted a chance by James’ late error.

The former Manchester United flyer brought down Laird as he attempted to stop the lively right-back meeting a diagonal ball, with referee Tim Robinson pointing to the spot.

Newly-introduced Jutkiewicz leathered home the penalty and chants of “USA, USA, USA” filled the air as Birmingham saw out victory.

Tom Brady and Michael B Jordan investing into British football clubs shows "everybody wants a piece" of the beautiful game, so says Justin Kluivert. 

A-list Hollywood actor Jordan invested into Bournemouth last year, while NFL great Brady, one of the most successful sportspeople on the planet, recently put money into Championship club Birmingham City.

Jordan's investment helped Bournemouth stave off relegation from the Premier League last season, and the Cherries have made some big signings this transfer window.

Kluivert, son of former Milan, Barcelona and Newcastle United star Patrick Kluivert, has been among those additions, with the 24-year-old joining from Roma.

While he has not yet met Jordan, Kluivert believes the superstar's investment is evidence of football's attraction.

"Of course, football is the most beautiful sport there is," Kluivert said in an exclusive interview with Stats Perform.

"So everybody knows that and everybody wants a piece of that, and that's beautiful."

Kluivert also referenced the growth of women's football, as well as the influx of star players to the Saudi Pro League, as proof that football is continuously developing.

"You see it also with women's football how big that's getting, and it's only getting bigger and bigger," he added.

"Now you can see in Saudi Arabia, this league is going to be very good. I think in America [too], so it's going global, very big.

"I think everybody's going to want a piece of that and love football, and love to watch it and love to be part of it. Yeah, that's nice."

Jordan is not the only Hollywood star to have invested into a club, with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney having grown Wrexham into a global brand following their takeover of the Welsh team in 2020.

Tom Brady hopes investing in the Las Vegas Aces will help the WNBA "continue to do to grow" and "empower future generations of athletes."

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady has acquired an ownership interest in the world champion Aces.

The legendary former quarterback, who retired in February, jumped at the chance to be part of the organisation.

He said: "I am very excited to be part of the Las Vegas Aces organisation. My love for women's sports began at a young age when I would tag along to all my older sisters' games.

"They were by far the best athletes in our house! We celebrated their accomplishments together as a family, and they remain a great inspiration to me.

"I have always been a huge fan of women's sports, and I admire the work that the Aces' players, staff, and the WNBA continue to do to grow the sport and empower future generations of athletes.

"To be able to contribute in any way to that mission as a member of the Aces organisation is an incredible honour."

Aces owner Mark Davis said: "Since I purchased the Aces, our goal has been to win on and off the court. Tom Brady is a win not only for the Aces, and the WNBA, but for women's professional sports as a whole."

Leonard Fournette wanted to leave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once Tom Brady retired, and the team are set to grant his wish.

Not long after Jason Licht described Fournette as someone who "still has several years left in him as a three-down back" on Tuesday, reports emerged of his imminent release.

But the development was of no surprise to Fournette, who had asked to be let go, he revealed.

"I asked after the season to be [released], and they respected my wishes," Fournette told the Tampa Bay Times. "So, no bad blood.

"Winning is everything. That's all. And in my last three years here, that's all we've done. But since my guy [Brady] left... that's why I came, so my time here was up."

Brady has retired again in Tampa, and the Buccaneers do not expect him to reverse his decision this time.

With him then goes a key member of the successful Super Bowl LV team, with Fournette having joined the Bucs alongside Brady.

Between three rushing touchdowns and one receiving TD, Fournette had a score in every round of that postseason after the 2020 season.

Lewis Hamilton could be Formula One's equivalent of Tom Brady by racing into his 40s, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, endured a disappointing 2022 campaign in which he failed to win a race during a season for the first time in his career.

At 38-years-old, Hamilton's contract is due to expire at the end of the 2023 season, but Wolff feels Hamilton could view the longevity of NFL star Brady as inspiration to continue racing beyond that deal.

Brady retired at the age of 45 this month, bringing an end to a stunning career that saw him win seven Super Bowl championships, with three of those coming after he turned 39.

Wolff believes Hamilton can follow Brady's example, telling reporters: "His age, 38, plays no role for this next contract.

"If you look at how well top athletes have pushed the boundaries - I'm thinking about Tom Brady, still throwing the ball at age 44, 45 - the age plays no role."

Wolff is confident Hamilton will pen a new deal soon, explaining: "In terms of the contractual situation, we have always found good solutions and for the other side, Mercedes are the place he wants to be.

"These things have never been contentious. Nothing is dragging on. The alignment is there. This will be a journey that will continue."

Hamilton echoed his principal's confidence on a fresh deal, and added his decision would not hinge on whether Mercedes can provide a car capable of competing against the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari in the new season.

"I am planning to stay a little bit longer," Hamilton said. "I don't feel like I need [the team] to prove [anything] to me. We have proved time and time again over the years that we have strength in depth. You don't lose that ability.

"We are continuing to try and improve our processes, there is the best harmony in the team I have seen these years.

"We have a real fresh group of engineers in the team. It is an exciting time and I don't plan on being anywhere else."

Hamilton also vowed to continue to be vocal on key issues in the face of the FIA's update to its International Sporting Code, in which Formula One drivers will be required to obtain prior written permission to make "political statements".

Hamilton has previously competed in a rainbow pride helmet in races in the Middle East, while he also wore a T-shirt at the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix protesting against the death of American Breonna Taylor.

He says he will continue to make a stand on political issues despite the FIA's rule change, stating: "Nothing will stop me from speaking on the things I am passionate about.

"The sport has a responsibility to speak out and create awareness on important topics, particularly as we are travelling to different places. So nothing changes.

"It would be silly to say I would want to get penalty points for speaking out on things but I am still going to be speaking my mind."

LeBron James' achievement has been hailed as "absolutely incredible" by Tiger Woods, who also praised Tom Brady's legendary playing career.

James last week became the all-time points leader in NBA history, with the Los Angeles Lakers star overtaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing record.

The 38-year-old is a four-time NBA champion, four-time NBA Finals MVP and four-time league MVP.

Ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Genesis Invitational, Woods was asked for his thoughts on James' feat, and suggested Sam Snead and himself would be golf's equivalent to the 19-time NBA All-Star.

"What he accomplished is absolutely incredible," Woods told reporters.

"Just the durability, the consistency and the longevity. I grew up watching Kareem, he was the Cap [Captain], that's all I remember – the showtime Lakers, watching Cap.

"That record, nobody ever thought it would be broken, but also the amount of minutes he's playing, nobody's ever done it at that age and the way he's done it, being able to play all five positions. That's never been done at this level for this long.

"As far as our equivalent to that... I don't know, maybe you look at me and Sam, at 82 [PGA Tour wins each, a joint-record]. It takes a career to get to those numbers, that's probably best how you look at it."

While James is set to play on, a star of another sport – Brady – has retired.

NFL great Brady, who had a short-lived retirement in 2022, called time on his playing days "for good" earlier in February, ending a 23-year career at the highest level.

The quarterback is one of the most successful players of all time, with seven Super Bowl rings to his name, and has the most career wins of any QB.

Aaron Rodgers might also be considering retirement, and Woods is astounded at the pair's longevity, especially when it comes to 45-year-old Brady.

"There was a touch and go whether I'd be back after my back fusion," said Woods when asked about the mindset of the duo when it comes to retirement. 

"I didn't know if I was going to be able to walk again, I came back and had a nice little run. The same again with this leg. I didn't know if I was going to be able to play again and I played three majors last year.

"When you get a little bit older and a little more banged up, you’re not as invincible as you once were – that's just the reality of all of us ageing. Those are contact sports, I don't know how they've played [so long].

"Tom, playing as long as he did and the level he played at, it was phenomenal. We just have to look at him as an outlier, as how great that was.

"I remember as a kid growing up watching John Elway speak and just crying as he said 'I can do it but my body won't allow me to anymore'. He won the last two Super Bowls but he just could not physically do it anymore.

"I've got to that point a few times where you think of [retirement]. My sport, there's no contact, I don't have 300lb guys falling on me. It's just a matter of shooting a low score. We have the ability to pick and choose, play a little bit longer.

"We've seen my hero – Arnold Palmer – play in 50 straight Masters. Fifty straight. I'm not even 50 years old yet! You look at Gary Player, who played in 51 Masters. We're different sports."

Tom Brady has filed his retirement letter with the NFL and National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), effectively rubber-stamping the end of his professional career, according to reports.

The veteran quarterback originally announced his retirement last year following two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before walking back on his decision.

Following Tampa Bay's defeat in the Wild Card round to the Dallas Cowboys last month, however, the 45-year-old announced he was to quit for good.

On Friday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Brady has written to the league and the NFLPA to formally confirm his decision to retire.

The move makes the seven-time Super Bowl winner eligible for the Class of 2028 in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to which he is likely to be an immediate inductee.

Across a two-decade-plus tenure following his selection by the New England Patriots, Brady became one of the NFL's undisputed greats.

During his time in New England he won six Super Bowls, before adding a seventh ring to his collection during his spell in Florida with the Buccaneers.

Brady is set to take up a role as a broadcaster with Fox Sports for their NFL coverage following his retirement, though he will not start in the role until 2024.

He is due to instead take a year out from the sport, missing the 2023 season in all capacities, before he joins the commentary booth the following year.

J.J. Watt, the former Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals defensive end who announced his retirement in December, quoted tweeted Schefter's report with the caption: "I was unaware there was paperwork... Definitely not gonna [sic] fill that out, but definitely retired."

Rob Gronkowski thinks Tom Brady could have played on until he was 50.

Brady had a short-lived retirement last year but confirmed he was calling time on his playing days for good on February 1.

The 45-year-old heads into retirement with seven Super Bowl rings, five Super Bowl MVP awards and three NFL MVP prizes to his name among countless records.

Gronkowski played alongside Brady for nine years with the New England Patriots and then linked up with the QB again for two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He thinks Brady could have played at the top level for another five years.

"Yes, I was [surprised] but I wasn't at the same time," Gronkowski said.

"Football is a tough sport. But the only reason why I'm surprised that he's retired is because I think he could have easily played until like 50 years old, just the way he carries himself, the way he takes care of his body, just the way he preps every single week, week in and week out.

"At the same time, not really surprised. He had an unbelievable career. If you really think about a 45-year-old and was top three in passing yards... so he still went out on top, there's no doubt about it.

"Whatever he wants to do, whatever is going to make him happy, I'm going to support that."

Gronkowski, who retired after the 2021 season, is unsure where Brady might have ended up had he decided to continue his career.

"I don't know, wherever he decided but just loves the game of football," he added. "He just loves it so much. So I really wasn't sure what his plans were or anything.

"But I'm just super excited for him and just happy for him in whatever situation, he decides to do anytime."

Patriots chief executive Robert Kraft mooted the possibility of Brady ending his career at New England, potentially on a one-day contract.

Asked if he would be open to such a situation for himself, Gronkowski replied: "I think that offer's only open for Tom. 

"I don't know. If it was offered and presented, it would definitely be a possibility. I love New England. I loved my time there. I've learned so much. I love Mr. Kraft. I love the whole organisation.

"Coach [Bill] Belichick, everyone, I've learned so much there over the nine years. So, if that was presented then that would definitely be something to consider. All because of just how much that place means to me for the rest of my life."

Tom Brady will wait until the 2024 NFL season to launch his new career in broadcasting with Fox Sports.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion retired last week after a 23-year career with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady signed a 10-year deal to become Fox Sports' lead analyst last May once his playing days had come to an end, reported to be worth $375million.

However, the 45-year-old will not be involved in any capacity in next season's coverage as he intends to take his first year out from the sport since 1999.

"I want to be great at what I do," Brady told Fox Sports 1's The Herd.

"I was talking even last week with the people at Fox Sports, and the leadership there allowing me to start my opportunity in the fall of 2024 is something that's great for me.

"I'll take some time to really learn, become great at what I want to do, become great at thinking about the opportunity and make sure I don't rush into anything."

Brady announced his retirement in a short video posted on his social media channels last Wednesday.

He had called time on his illustrious career a year ago, on February 1 2022, only to announce 40 days later that he was making a comeback.

And the legendary quarterback says he wanted to make the latest retirement announcement a low-key affair.

"For me, I know in my heart how I feel," he said. "I put it out on the field for 23 years and I'm super proud of what's been accomplished. 

"I just wanted to keep last week really short and sweet. I felt like I've given a lot, I've gained a lot, I've learned a lot, and life is about exciting things ahead, too.

"I've loved my time in football. It's absolutely an incredible love in my life. It's hard to make decisions like that, but it's certainly the right time."

On his next chapter away from the field, Brady added: "I want to be great at what I do, and that always takes some time, strategising, learning, growing and evolving. 

"I have so many people to rely on and support me in that world, too. 

"It's going to be a great opportunity for me to take some time to prepare for my broadcasting job, but also catching up on other parts of my life that need some time and energy."

Tom Brady will retire as a New England Patriot if owner Robert Kraft gets his way.

The seven-time Super Bowl winner announced his retirement on Wednesday, bringing an end to a 23-year career in the NFL.

Six of those Super Bowl victories came with the Patriots, but Brady spent the final three years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, Kraft does not want Brady to end his career with that franchise and instead hopes he will sign a one-day contract with the Patriots.

"Not only do I want it, our fans are clamouring for it. To us, he always has been and always will be a Patriot," Kraft told CNN.

"We will do everything in our power to bring him back, have him sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honour him for many years to come.

"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."

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