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Bill Belichick: Tom Brady's move to Buccaneers wasn't about 'not wanting him'

Bill Belichick: Tom Brady's move to Buccaneers wasn't about 'not wanting him'
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady throws the ball over Los Angeles Rams defenders Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Bill Belichick wanted Tom Brady to stay with the New England Patriots instead of leaving for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two seasons ago, the quarterback's former coach said Monday.

Belichick made the comments during a radio interview Monday on WEEI. The future Hall of Famer coached Brady for his entire 20-year tenure with the Patriots. Brady left the team in free agency in 2020.

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On Sunday, Brady returns to Gillette Stadium for the first time as a visiting player.

"Well, I think we've been through all of the dynamics of that," Belichick told WEEI. "There were a lot of things there -- he looked at his options and made his decision.

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"We weren't as good of an option as Tampa. You'd have to ask him about all that, but it wasn't a question of not wanting him that's for sure."

Belichick's comments contradicted those made by Brady's father, Tom Brady Sr., last week on an NBC Sports podcast.

"Belichick wanted him out the door, and last year [Brady] threw 56 touchdowns," the elder Brady said. "I think that's a pretty good year."

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Brady confirmed that his son "felt the same way" when asked a follow up question on the podcast.

"He's more than happy that he's moved on because it was pretty obvious that the Patriot regime felt that it was time for him to move on," Brady said.

The Patriots did not face Tom Brady last season during the Buccaneers' march to the Super Bowl title.

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"Tom and I had I feel like a good relationship and a lot of production, obviously while we were together," Belichick said Monday. "I enjoyed coaching Tom. He was a great player for us.

"Sunday night, we line up across from Tampa and not just him, but the entire team. They are obviously a very good team, so that's all about our team competing against Tampa's team."

On Sunday, Brady side-stepped reporters when asked about the upcoming matchup against his former team. Belichick met with reporters Monday morning, but did not elaborate on his radio interview comments.

"We made a statement when Tom left, and that covered it," Belichick said.

That statement, issued March 18, 2020, did not specify exactly who decided to break up the union, but said the Patriots and Brady were "unable to reach an agreement."

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Brady, 44, signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Buccaneers in 2020. He agreed to the terms of a new two-year, $50 million pact this off-season. His latest contract includes more than $41 million due in 2021, with additional incentives.

The Los Angeles Rams beat the Buccaneers 34-24 on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif. The New Orleans Saints beat the Patriots 28-13 on Sunday in Foxborough.

The Patriots (1-2) host the Buccaneers (2-1) in Week 4 at 8:20 p.m. EDT Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. The Sunday Night Football broadcast airs on NBC.

This week in the National Football League

The Dallas Cowboys' Dalton Schultz scores on a 19-yard reception against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Monday. The Cowboys won 41-21. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

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