CBS Sports: Bill Belichick says Patriots wanted Tom Brady to stay in New England, never a question about not wanting him

By Tyler Sullivan 


Ready or not, Tom Brady is heading back to Foxborough to face his former team in the New England Patriots this Sunday. And he’s bringing the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers with him. Even before this game was next on the schedule, the NFL world couldn’t help but look ahead and the hype is only going to grow as we get closer to kickoff. This week will also serve as a rehashing of the quarterback’s departure from the franchise he’d won six titles with over a two-decade run of dominance. 

That subject was quickly brought back to the surface on Monday morning when Bill Belichick — the coach and co-pillar of the dynasty alongside Brady — was asked about the quarterback’s looming return on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” 

Specifically, Belichick was asked about the numerous comments he’d made over Brady’s tenure that there was no other quarterback that he’d rather have and when that feeling may have changed for him. 

“It never changed,” Belichick said, via

In a follow-up asking if that meant the Patriots wanted him back after the 2019 season, Belichick said, “Well, I think we’ve been through all of the dynamics of that. There were a lot of things there — he looked at his options and made his decision. 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.”

During his free agency in 2020, Brady did announce that he was leaving the Patriots before ultimately making the decision to head to Tampa, which is a decision that proved to be wise for him as he’d go on to win his seventh title and first away from New England. 

Speaking more generally about his return, Belichick said he feels like he and Brady had a good relationship over their shared tenure in Foxborough — despite rumors of the two growing cold towards one another in their final years together. Belichick also highlighted that this is a game against the entire Buccaneers team and not just Brady.

“Tom and I had — I feel like — a good relationship and a lot of production, obviously while we were together,” he said. “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.”

The Patriots will host the Buccaneers on “Sunday Night Football” with kickoff set for 8:20 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.