Gregory Payan/Associated Press
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said it was a “shock” to see Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.
Kelce discussed the NFL offseason’s blockbuster move during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take on Thursday, comparing it to LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers:
“I think shock, just like everybody else in the world. I say it’s kind of like LeBron going to L.A., even though he went to Miami first and changed jerseys there. You can’t really imagine it until you actually see Tom Brady in a Bucs jersey down in Tampa playing football, and I still can’t imagine it. We’re just going to have to wait and see how everything plays out in August or September and hopefully we get the ball rolling for football to start here soon, but I was very surprised he would leave the legacy that he had in New England.”
Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs last month.
“So why would I choose a different place? It’s because it was just time. I don’t know what to say other than that,” he told Sirius XM Radio’s Howard Stern last week (via ESPN’s Jenna Laine).
It marked the end of a dynasty he built alongside head coach Bill Belichick over the past 20 years in New England that was highlighted by six Super Bowl championships. His individual accolades included three MVP Awards, two NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors and 14 Pro Bowl selections.
“We’re really focused on this season and trying to look at our opportunities and make decisions and plan and prepare to be as competitive as we can be this year,” Belichick told reporters Monday, calling the quarterback’s decision to leave “water under the bridge.”
Although there were signs over the past year Brady’s time in New England may have been nearing its conclusion, there was still a level of surprise when he confirmed his departure last month.
James’ second exit from the Cleveland Cavaliers was more expected. He brought the franchise in his home state its first championship in 2016 and the rumors linking him to the Lakers reached a fever pitch by the time he entered free agency in 2018.
The common link is the superstars’ change of teams shifted the balance of power in their respective leagues.
L.A. is now a top championship contender in the NBA, while Cleveland has once again fallen on hard times since King James headed west. Similarly, expectations are rapidly rising for the Bucs with Brady now leading the offense and uncertainty reigns supreme in New England as it attempt to fill the QB void.