Tom Brady delivered the news that he is leaving the Patriots on Tuesday after 20 years in New England.
The 42-year-old, a six-time Super Bowl champion, will enter free agency and continue his NFL career elsewhere.
The news that the most successful quarterback of all time was moving on prompted many on social media to pay tribute to Brady and his incredible run with the Patriots.
Here, we round up the best from those across the sports community.
Brady’s go-to receiver in recent years has been Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman, who posted a series of images of the two together along with the caption “family”.
Tedy Bruschi was with New England when Brady got drafted in 2000 and he said the veteran’s statement was “class personified”.
Former cornerback Darrelle Revis, a long-time foe when with the New York Jets before crossing the divide and winning a ring with New England, revealed how difficult it was going up against Brady every day in practice. He wrote on Twitter: “Practice against Tom Brady everyday was like playing on the 92′ Dream Team. He brought that much intensity to the practice field.
Practice against Tom Brady everyday was like playing on the 92’ Dream Team. He brought that much intensity to the practice field. Which ever team he lands I’m sure he will continue his legacy of playing a great brand of football. #TB12 pic.twitter.com/Y6tKUOapIk
— Darrelle Revis (@Revis24) March 17, 2020
“Which ever team he lands [on] I’m sure he will continue his legacy of playing a great brand of football.”
It was not just NFL players who commented on Brady’s exit. NBA great LeBron James, who swapped the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers at different junctures in his career, said he was “looking forward to the next chapter at hand” in a reply to one of Brady’s Instagram posts.
James’ international team-mate Kevin Durant said he “can’t wait to watch the next chapter” while WWE icon The Rock added: “Hate to see you leave, but support you wherever you go.”
In winning six titles, Brady is considered a Boston sports icon. David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz, who is in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame after being part of three World Series-winning teams, told Brady: “We will miss you on that field.”
Brady’s recent team-mates Josh Gordon and Ben Watson also paid tribute to their former colleague. Gordon commented on the quarterback’s Instagram post, saying it had been “an honour and privilege to even sit next to you”, while the recently retired Watson told him to “do what’s best” for his family.
Jarrett Stidham, who backed up Brady in New England last year, added: “Love you brother! Thank you for everything!”
Several other players, including Patrick Peterson, Von Miller and Antonio Brown, simply tweeted the goat emoji in response.
Others turned their attention to what might be next for Brady.
Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, who took the Bills to four successive Super Bowls in the 1990s, told his Twitter followers to “stay safe and practice social distancing” while telling Brady to “stay out of the AFC East”.
With all that’s going on in the world today. Two very important things:
1. Stay safe and practice social distancing.
2. Stay out of the AFC East, TOM BRADY. @TheBillsMafia
— Jim Kelly (@JimKelly1212) March 17, 2020
Super Bowl LIV champion Tyrann Mathieu wants to see Brady enter his division, though, the Kansas City Chiefs safety suggesting he will go to the Los Angeles Chargers.
However, former wide receiver Torrey Smith wants boyhood 49ers fan Brady to move to San Francisco and join his old team.
Should none of the other 31 NFL franchises fit the bill for Brady, the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks mocked up Brady in one of their jerseys to make their pitch.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) March 17, 2020