I am 19 years old. I was born in raised in Massachusetts just 20 minutes away from Gillette Stadium. This means I’ve been a New England Patriots fan since birth. My dad had me dressed in jerseys before I could even turn three. While many players have come and gone there has been one player that has always been a constant. Tom Brady. The quarterback has been a New England Patriot since before I can remember. Tuesday morning that all changed.

It was just after 5 a.m. in Los Angeles when I was doing some last-minute packing for my flight to Logan that afternoon. I put my phone on the charger then noticed a notification that Tom Brady had posted. I saw a preview of the post and saw that it was all text and my heart sank.  This can’t be good I thought.

I read the first post. “To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organization,” it read. Oh no. I thought. I could feel my eyes fill up with tears as I kept reading up until. “Our team has always set a great standard in pro sports and I know it will continue to do just that. Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments.” I must have read those two sentences over 20 times.

The announcement didn’t feel real. Amid everything happening in the world I’d felt numb to any news. Every new update about cancellations or closings didn’t seem to faze me at this point. Then this. Even in the middle of one of the most stressful situations the entire world has faced, this still made me feel so much. I would have to see Tom Brady in a different jersey. It just didn’t feel right. It still doesn’t.

While the last thing we needed was more bad news, I think the best thing to do is not be sad. While I’m not ready to see Brady on another team I can’t help but be happy about the 20 years he gave us. I could go on and on about his accomplishments and highlights but I’ll just say this: six rings. He gave us six rings and every year (besides the Matt Castle season of course) since he started playing if the Patriots weren’t winning the championship Brady made sure they were contenders. Never were fans worried about not making the playoffs. The only slight concern would be a home field playoff advantage and a bye, and again that was only a slight concern.

Now, Tom Brady is headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is hosting the Super Bowl this year, so Brady could continue to break records by making it there with the Bucs as no team has ever had home-field advantage in a Super Bowl. Brady will also be coming back to Gillette Stadium in the third week of the season to take on the Patriots.

To Tom, thank you. It was a great run. I wish you the best of luck in Tampa, even though I wish it was still New England.

By Shannen Tierney

Photo: USA Today