For the Patriots, the focus is entirely on preparing for Super Bowl LI. But Tom Brady took a moment Friday to get sentimental.
"Seventeen years ago today, [Robert] Kraft hired the only professional head coach I have ever had," he wrote on Facebook. "And there is no other coach I would ever want to play for! Coach, thanks for taking a chance on me 17 years ago too!!"
Bill Belichick was hired Jan. 27, 2000 to replace Pete Carroll as New England's head coach. Three months later, the Patriots got a little bit of a bargain when they drafted Brady in the sixth round, 199th overall.
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"When they picked me, I had to look on a map to see where the New England Patriots played, cause I had never been this far east," Brady said Friday.
A fourth-string quarterback his rookie year, he would ultimately step up in the following season's second game, when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury. Brady went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI, and the rest is history.
"I know for Patriots fans, to have Coach Belichick to come to this team was the best thing for this franchise," Brady said. "I feel really fortunate to have played for, in my opinion, the best coach of all time."