(CNN) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told CNN on Thursday that he wants Tom Brady to sign a one-day contract and officially retire as a Patriot.
“Not only do I want it, our fans are clamoring for it,” Kraft said. “To us, he is always has been and always will be a Patriot.
“We will do everything in our power to bring him back, have him sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honor him for many years to come.”
Brady announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday. Of his record seven Super Bowl wins, six came with New England. Another followed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kraft shared a story of Brady — selected at No. 199 overall in the 2000 NFL draft — when the young quarterback introduced himself near the end of training camp.
The Patriots owner — who now tells CNN Brady should have been the top pick that year instead of going in the sixth round — said the future seven-time Super Bowl winner told him, “I’m the best decision your franchise has ever made.”
“He was No. 4 in our depth chart,” Kraft said. “He came down, and he really believed what he said — and he was right.”
The legendary quarterback announced his retirement after 23 seasons with a video message, where the 45-year-old confirmed he was “retiring for good.”
He first retired in February 2022, but the decision proved temporary as he returned for one more season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady told his father, Tom Brady Sr., about a week ago that he was retiring, according to the elder Brady in a phone interview with the Boston Globe on Wednesday.
“We’re not shocked by any means,” Brady’s dad told the Globe. “He has played football for 32 years out of his 45, living his dream for three-fourths of his life. It’s been a wonderful ride. He’s very secure in his decision. It’s about time.”
“This has been a hard year,” added Brady Sr. in the Globe interview. “I’m really happy for Tommy from the standpoint that he’s going to be able to spend more time with his kids.
“He’s going out on his own terms, and he’s in good health. He’s taken a lot of hits over the years — a lot of sacks, a lot of knockdowns. I am thrilled that he won’t get knocked down again.”
During his long career, three-time league MVP Brady has broken almost every passing record, including regular season passing yards (89,214) and passing touchdowns (649). He has also amassed the most wins of any player in NFL history (251).
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