Here's When Tom Brady May Have Initially Considered Leaving New England

By Jason Hall

October 13, 2021

Wild Card Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots
Photo: Getty Images

Tom Brady reportedly "considered walking out of training camp" as early as 2019 when his former team, the New England Patriots, wouldn't commit to a long-term deal, according to a revealing new book on the Patriots' dynasty.

It's Better to Be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness by ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham was released by Liveright Publishing on October 12 and provides includes previously confidential emails, texts, game plans, scouting reports and other internal studies conducted by the franchise.

In the book, Wickersham wrote that Brady, who was 42 at the time, snapped when the Patriots refused to re-sign him to a two-year deal, securing his future with the franchise until he turned 45.

At the time, Brady had been playing on year-to-year deals, which gave New England flexibility to build its roster around the veteran quarterback, but prevented the franchise from making a long-term investment in the man responsible for winning six Super Bowls during his 20 seasons with the team.

Wickersham wrote head coach Bill Belichick refused to give in on the contract negotiations while owner Robert Kraft was willing to give Brady what he wanted, however, refused to get involved and override his six-time champion head coach.

Prior to publication, ESPN released excerpts of the book chronicling the Patriots' dynasty from 2001 to 2019 and focusing on the dynamic between Brady, Belichick and Kraft leading up to the legendary quarterback's departure prior to joining Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020 after 20 seasons in New England.

An except from the book shared by ESPN last month had previously detailed that Brady decided to leave New England not only because both Belichick and Kraft refused to commit to him through his stated goal of playing through age 45, but also because he wanted to be part of an organization that listened to his ideas, rather than ignore them.

"Tom Brady had been curious if there was another way of winning, and while nobody was arguing that Bruce Arians was a better coach than Bill Belichick, or even close, the seamlessness of Brady's proficiency and performance was making his former coach's methodologies look antiquated, even silly," the book says. "It was better to be feared -- but was it necessary?"

Additionally, Wickersham wrote that Kraft once referred to Belichick, his coach for the past 22 seasons, as "the biggest f****** a**hole in my life."

You can purchase It's Better to Be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness on Amazon for $25.94.

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