Tom Brady

Bill Belichick Calls Tom Brady ‘Best Player in NFL History' in Heartfelt Statement

Read Belichick's heartfelt statement on Tom Brady's retirement originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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Tom Brady's retirement from the NFL prompted a plethora of congratulatory messages from prominent figures, but nobody's words have been more anticipated than Bill Belichick's.

The New England Patriots head coach released a statement Wednesday honoring his longtime quarterback, who he calls "the best player in NFL history."

Gronk's tribute to Brady after QB's retirement is on-brand

Read the full statement below:

"I am privileged to have drafted and coached Tom Brady, the ultimate competitor and winner. Tom's humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history. Tom consistently performed at the highest level against competition that always made him the number one player to stop. His pursuit of excellence was inspirational. Tom was professional on and off the field, and carried himself with class, integrity, and kindness. I thank Tom for his relentless pursuit of excellence and positive impact on me and the New England Patriots for 20 years."

Belichick selected Brady with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. The Michigan product was thrust into a starting role in 2001 when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury, and the Patriots dynasty was born. The greatest head coach/quarterback duo in the history of the sport went on to win six Super Bowl titles in nine appearances over their 20 seasons together.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft also released a heartfelt statement congratulating Brady on retirement. The organization released a three-minute tribute video thanking their beloved No. 12.

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