New Bucs QB Tom Brady says Patriots exit was 'very emotional'

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Tom Brady described his communication with former New England Patriots teammates as "very emotional" over the past week, while adding details on how his exit from the franchise unfolded.

Speaking on a Tuesday afternoon conference call officially introducing him as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Brady said he didn't officially cut ties with the Patriots in his mind until he visited owner Robert Kraft on the night of March 16.

"We had a great conversation. I just wanted to express what he's meant to me in my life, and we spoke to Coach Belichick at the same time. We were at different locations, so we talked to him, and it was a great conversation," Brady explained, adding that they also called team president Jonathan Kraft.

"All three of those guys have been involved in so many important decisions in my life -- career-related, personal-related. I leave there with just great admiration for the people in that organization. It's a world-class, first-class organization in every way. And I wanted to leave it that way, too."

Brady deflected questions on any negotiations with the Patriots, but allowed that he wasn't disappointed that there wasn't more appreciation, or more of an effort from the franchise to retain him.

"No, I have a great deal of respect. There's nobody who's been a bigger fan of the Patriots than me. I have nothing but total respect and love," he said. "I'm so grateful to Mr. Kraft and the organization, and Coach Belichick, and all the coaches. And obviously all my teammates.

"It's been a lot of days responding to a lot of incredible text messages from my teammates, from former teammates, from just a lot of great people I've got to meet over the years. I have so many great relationships that will be maintained. I think the greatest gift that football has brought me is the relationships I've had with so many of the people I've worked with.

"It will be certainly different. But at the same time, that's the way life can be at times. What won't be different is my approach to the game, my approach to what my roles and responsibilities are. I'm going to go out and do the best I can every day to put our team in position to win."

Asked what it would have taken to stay in New England, Brady took the high road.

"I don't want to talk about the past, because that's not relevant to what's important in my future and what's going on this offseason for me," he said. "I have nothing but two decades of an incredible experience, and learning from some of the best players and the best coaches and the ownership of the team. I think, for all of us, things in life can change and you have to be able to adapt and evolve. With each of those changes become different opportunities to learn and grow. That's where I'm at.

"Any time you leave somewhere, it's very emotional. The transition, I'd say, has been very emotional with a lot of the guys I've talked to that I shared the field with, because the relationships are what matter most to me. I'm going to be friends with my former teammates and coaches for the rest of my life. That's not going to leave just because I'm wearing a different jersey. At the same time for me, the new jersey I'm wearing, I'm prepared to give them the every bit of commitment I've had my entire career to be the best I can be to help this team be the best it can be."

As for the franchise he leaves behind, which has undergone significant change beyond just the QB's departure, Brady expressed confidence that New England will come out of it in good shape.

"I know the Patriots will have a great team. They always do. They have great players. Great leadership. Great coaches. I certainly wish them the best," he said.