New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft appeared on ESPN on Tuesday morning, reacting to the news that Tom Brady is leaving the team after two decades.
"Tommy initiated contact last night and came over," Kraft said. "We had a positive, respectful discussion. It's not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son."
Kraft told NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran that the conversation was warm between the two men.
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"We love each other very much," said Kraft. "He's like a family member. This is very sad because he's like a son to me."
"This is not the way I wanted it to end, but in life, people need to be free to realize what's important to them. I respect him so much. It was a sad, loving discussion."
Kraft said he hoped that Brady's visit was going to result in better news for New England. "I thought he was coming over as he has for the last 10 years to quietly get things done."
As it turns out, that was not the case. Brady has yet to decide where he will finish out his career. The announcement he is leaving New England, a source told Curran on Tuesday, will be the only announcement from the Brady camp on Tuesday.
Curran also asked Kraft if he was disappointed that the Patriots did not get deeper into negotations with Brady.
"It's not about that," said Kraft. "This is big picture. I just don't think he was going to be happy staying in our system at this point."
The 42-year-old six-time Super Bowl winner posted Tuesday on social media "my football journey will take place elsewhere." The comments were the first to indicate the most-decorated player in NFL history would leave New England. In a two-part message, Brady thanked the Patriots and the fans and said "FOREVER A PATRIOT."
"I don't know what my football future holds, but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and my career," he wrote. "Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for out incredible TEAM experiences."
The one-year contract Brady signed before last season expires Wednesday afternoon, and his agent could negotiate a deal with another team on Tuesday, though it can't be official yet. He actually could still work out a new deal with New England, but his Instagram post suggests that won't happen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.