Column: Let go of anger from Brady’s departure

  • Tom Brady gave a young Tom Johnston a lifetime of memories. AP File

  • Adam Hargraves believes the time was right for the Patriots and Tom Brady to divorce. AP File

  • A bouquet of flowers and a sign thanking former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who announced he was leaving the football team, rest on the sidewalk outside the TB12 training center in Boston, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Joe Figueira, of Pawtucket, R.I., walks out of the New England Patriots Pro Shop at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Tuesday, March 17, 2020, after purchasing some Tom Brady jerseys. Brady, the centerpiece of the New England Patriots’ championship dynasty over the past two decades, appears poised to leave the only football home he has ever had. The 42-year-old six-time Super Bowl winner posted Tuesday, March 17, 2020, on social media “my football journey will take place elsewhere.” The comments were the first to indicate the most-decorated player in NFL history would leave New England. (Mark Stockwell/The Sun Chronicle via AP) Mark Stockwell

Staff Writer
Published: 3/17/2020 6:03:50 PM
Modified: 3/17/2020 7:31:35 PM

Tom Brady could not play football for the New England Patriots forever.

I would advise Patriots fans to reflect fondly on his legendary career in New England, but let go of the anger and frustration immediately that results from his departure.

That will be difficult given there current options at quarterback. The names of Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler do not exactly instill confidence for next season.

But it was time to move on.

Here’s my opinion with Brady’s latter career. I wanted the Patriots to move on with Jimmy Garoppolo. But then they traded Garoppolo and won the Super Bowl in 2018, making me look foolish. Then I was upset they didn’t draft Lamar Jackson, which I still feel was the right move for the future of the franchise.

I firmly believed the Patriots needed to trade a couple more Brady years for the next decade. But here we are. He is gone without a viable option behind him.

The Patriots have returned to the pack. Which for some reason has spiked my interest level as a fan. There are a new set of challenges for the team.

But I am sure there are fans who feel the opposite. Life after Brady was inevitable and now it’s a reality. Deal with it. Whoever was at fault for his departure, it really doesn’t matter. The logo is still the same.

Will you view the team differently now that Brady is gone? Renouncing your fandom? Seems pretty silly. Getting ahead of Brady’s demise is a good plan. The page had to turn at some point. For those who disagree with this, when do you move on from Brady? Never?

He played here for 20 seasons. That’s unprecedented. The simple fact is that the Patriots’ entire roster needs to be revamped, starting with the aging quarterback.

Think about the future. I’m personally excited to see what follows. Bill Belichick is still in an office at Gillette Stadium.

Now we will see what Belichick has for a plan beyond Brady. Do the Patriots find a way to draft Tua Tagovailoa? Maybe take Jalen Hurts in a later round? Maybe there is a quarterback I’ve never heard of in the draft who could play for the Patriots?

All three options are intriguing and reason for hope.

One thing is perfectly clear about the post-Brady era. There will be turbulence. A massive amount of it. Until the team figures out who will be the quarterback of the future, it might get a little rough as far as wins and losses.

A weekly win will not always be guaranteed.

Does that seem unfathomable or even unacceptable to you? If that’s the case, you’re spoiled rotten. What happened the last 20 years will never happen again. It was a once in a lifetime situation.

It’s back to reality for fans of the New England Patriots. AFC championships every single season are over for the time being. If your initial reaction was to follow Brady wherever he lands or root for another team altogether, good riddance. You probably don’t know the names of Hugh Millen, Tommy Hodson, Scott Secules or even Drew Bledsoe.

The main point of all of this is to look at this situation with optimism. Sadness is totally normal. Vitriol and wishing nothing but doom and dread upon the Patriots’ franchise for all of eternity is abnormal. As a lifelong Patriots’ fan I wanted to see him retire here, but guess what? You don’t always get what you want.

I will root for Brady’s new team but not when he plays the Patriots. That’s where my loyalty ends. I am unsure how anyone could feel differently.

The New England Patriots will kick off (hopefully) in September, and I am more excited than ever to see what the team looks like on the field.

Adam Hargraves is a Recorder sports reporter. He can be reached at

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