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Quarterback Tom Brady on Howard Stern Show: It was ‘just time’ to leave New England Patriots

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady calls signals at the line of scrimmage against the Miami Dolphins in the first half n Foxborough, Mass., on Dec. 29. (AP file photo)

TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady entered his final season in New England with a strong inkling that it would be his last with the Patriots.

The six-time Super Bowl champion who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency last month said Wednesday on SiriusXM’s “The Howard Stern Show” it was “just time” for a change, reiterating he has no hard feelings about coach Bill Belichick not making him a Patriot for life.

“I think he has a lot of loyalty and I think he and I have had a lot of conversations that nobody’s ever been privy to, and nor should they be,” Brady told Stern during a wide-ranging interview lasting more than two hours.

“So many wrong assumptions were made about our relationship, or about how he felt about me. I know genuinely how he feels about me,” the four-time Super Bowl MVP added.

“Now I’m not going to respond to every rumor or assumption that’s made other than what his responsibility as coach is to try to get the best player for the team, not only in the short term, but in the long term as well.”

With Brady and Belichick leading the way, the Patriots won 17 division titles and appeared in nine Super Bowls and 13 AFC championship games over the past 20 years.

Brady, who’ll turn 43 in August, said he entered “unchartered territory as an athlete” when continued to perform at a high level in recent years.

“I was an older athlete, and he started to plan for the future, which is what his responsibility is. And I don’t fault him for that,” Brady said of Belichick. “That’s what he should be doing. That’s what every coach should be doing.”

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