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There might not be a perfectly right answer for how the Patriots and the NFL should honor Tom Brady after the all-time great quarterback announced his retirement on Wednesday.
But Patriots owner Robert Kraft just got very clear about what he wants to see happen.
During an appearance on CNN Thursday morning, Kraft emphatically answered in the affirmative when asked if he was open to having Brady return to sign a one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Patriots.
"I'd do it tomorrow," he told hosts Don Lemon and Poppy Harlow a day after releasing a heartfelt video to commemorate Brady’s retirement. "Not only do I want it, our fans are clamoring for it and to us, he always has been and always will be a Patriot...We'll do everything we can in our power to bring him back, sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honor him for many years to come.
“He did so much to bring life and good cheer to our community and he's a beloved figure and he's earned the respect and love that people feel for him like no other athlete in our town and we've had some great ones."
Nothing left to interpretation there.
Of course, there’s the matter of what Brady himself wants. He announced Wednesday that he’s retiring “for good,” but he appeared to do the same thing last year only to go back on it 40 days later and return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Traveling to Gillette Stadium to ink his final NFL contract as a member of the New England Patriots would seem like a real ending to his career, and there’s always the possibility he’s not all the way there yet.
As for Bill Belichick’s involvement, the longtime coach doesn’t look like the type for symbolic gestures such as these and, if we’re being honest, already passed up a chance to let Brady retire as a Patriot in 2020.
Then again, if there’s any time to make an exception, it’s now. With Kraft making his presence felt in a profound way this off-season, there might be a better chance he gets his way than not.