Pats retire Tom Brady’s number, announce statue plans

The New England Patriots, while inducting Tom Brady into their Hall of Fame on Wednesday, delivered a few surprises for the legendary quarterback.

Team owner Robert Kraft revealed that the Patriots are retiring Brady’s uniform No. 12 and are commissioning a 12-foot-tall bronze Brady statue that will be installed during the 2024 season.

“(The statue) will stand alone in the plaza outside of the Hall of Fame to symbolize his position, not as the greatest in franchise history, but as the greatest in all of NFL history,” Kraft said.

The ceremony drew a crowd of 60,000 to the Patriots’ home stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The three-hour festivities included appearances by scores of Brady’s former teammates and ex-Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. It was the first time Belichick returned to Foxborough since he resigned at the end of last season.

Brady gave thanks to all, saying, “I am eternally grateful. I am Tom Brady. And I am a Patriot.”

He added of Belichick, “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t you. It was us. … Let me make this crystal clear: There is no coach in the world I would rather play for than Bill Belichick.”

Brady, playing under Belichick, spent 20 years with the Patriots, leading the team to six Super Bowl championships. He later added another title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Belichick, greeted with huge cheers from Patriots fans, said to Brady, “Thank you for all that you’ve done for us. Thank you for all you’ve done for me. And thank you for the example and motto you’ve been for all of us on a daily basis for 20 years. Congratulations.”

One of Brady’s top rivals, Peyton Manning, also attended, chatting with Brady alongside ceremony host Mike Tirico.

Manning said, “You knew when you were playing against a Tom Brady team, you better be at your best, cause if you weren’t, Tom Brady was going to beat you every time.”

Brady added, “I think that I could never have been the type of player that I was without having someone like Peyton that I had to aspire to be like. And I looked at him as the gold standard for quarterback play, and I still do. There’s nobody like Peyton Manning out there right now.”

Brady, 46, was a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player who holds the league records for completions (7,753), pass attempts (12,050), passing yards (89,214) and touchdown passes (649).

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