Tom Brady making his way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a two-decade, G.O.A.T-defining era in New England wasn’t a total shock, but it absolutely still feels very, very strange and surely will for a long time.
Athletes across the sports world have been trying to absorb the news too. Many have taken to social media to share some of their favourite memories while heaping praises and paying their respects to the six-time Super Bowl champ.
Sunday was fellow Boston-area legend Zdeno Chara’s turn to show some love to TB12.
“It’s with sadness and joy I find myself reflecting on the news of my friend and sports legend Tom Brady moving on from the Patriots,” Chara wrote in an Instagram post.
“For New England and it’s fan base, Tom’s departure is a major loss to the role he plays in leading the incredible Patriots,” Chara continued. “His 20 years have brought us all some of the most memorable moments in sports history. His departure leaves us with mixed feelings. We feel a loss but we also hope that he continues to have an outstanding career.
“Thank you Tom for the best 20 years of New England sports memories. Your leadership, athletic achievements and your contributions to Boston will forever be remembered by many generations. I wish you all the best. We will be watching and cheering you on!”
Chara and Brady have become close since ‘Big Z’ became a member of Boston’s NHL team — the Bruins — in 2006. The two share similar ruthlessly-competitive yet loveable and loyal personalities, and have both been central figures — Chara to a slightly lesser extent, of course — on championships clubs as the Bruins and Patriots were both in the upper class of their respective leagues throughout the 2010s.
The two also share a love of longevity, fitness and nutrition. Chara was there in 2019 to support Brady during the grand opening of the TB12 Performance and Recovery Center. During the Stanley Cup Final that same year — one Boston lost in seven games to the St. Louis Blues — Chara called Brady “a true professional and a great human being” while the latter narrated the Bruins captain’s “Made For This” pump-up video he posted to Instagram last spring.
As Brady made a late-stage career shift, Chara’s Bruins sat in first place in the NHL by a fairly significant margin and were looking to make yet another deep playoff run before the league shut down indefinitely earlier in March amid the coronavirus crisis.
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