Tom Brady opens up on Patriots departure: 'Everything was handled the right way'

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Tom Brady, ahead of his return to New England to face his former team for the first time after he spent 20 seasons there, opened up about his departure from the Patriots and split with Bill Belichick.

Now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady said his goodbye from his former head coach didn't come in person, but he was comfortable with how things ended.

"All those things are super personal," Brady said Thursday in his weekly news conference. "We had a great relationship. I think everything was handled the right way. We handled everything as gracefully as we could. It was an amazing time. It was handled perfectly. I think everyone understood where we were at, the people involved in the situation. Things worked out for the best for all of us and we're all trying to do the best we can do now."

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New England Patriots QB Tom Brady points to teammates as head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft look on after the 2017 AFC Championship Game.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady points to teammates as head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft look on after the 2017 AFC Championship Game.

Brady was the key offseason addition last year for Tampa Bay, which won Super Bowl 55 last season in the quarterback's first season with the team. This season, Brady leads the NFL with 10 passing touchdowns, and the Buccaneers are 2-1.

"The last 18 months have been very fulfilling in a lot of different ways," Brady said. "I love my football experience here."

In Tampa, Brady said the reception from general manager Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians has been a welcome chapter of his life.

"It's what happens in life," Brady continued. "You go through these experiences and you don't know where life is going to lead. I think the only thing I know how to do is give it all I can, every day, moment. The people who really bet on me, I want to do really well for them. Jason and Bruce, them coming into my life and saying 'Hey, we really want you to be here' has been an amazing thing for me."

Brady's return to Gillette Stadium will also be a chance for him to further stamp his name in the league's history. He is just 68 passing yards away from breaking former New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers passer Drew Brees' all-time record of 80,358.

"I still have a lot of great friends there, but they know I want to kick their butt this week," Brady said of facing the Patriots. "They'll know exactly how I'm feeling once I'm out there."

The Buccaneers and Patriots will kick off their game Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. ET.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tom Brady opens up on New England Patriots departure