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Tom Brady enshrined into Patriots Hall of Fame, has No. 12 retired 

Tom Brady waves to the crowd while donning his Patriots Hall of Fame jersey during his enshrinement on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady waves to the crowd while donning his Patriots Hall of Fame jersey during his enshrinement on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

Amid six Super Bowl wins' worth of pomp and circumstance, Tom Brady took his rightful place in the Patriots Hall of Fame.

The New England legend was enshrined into the team's hallowed halls on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium to conclude a three-hour event in which his No. 12 was officially retired, and it was announced a statue would be erected in his honor, as well.

Throughout a night dedicated to him, the man revered as The G.O.A.T. continually did his best to honor those who helped him achieve the most successful career in NFL chronicle.

"Nothing of significance in life is accomplished as an individual," Brady said shortly after donning a red Patriots Hall of Fame jacket and being officially inducted into the team's honor roll. "Nobody individually hangs those six banners up there. The team does. Here in New England it's always about 'we' and 'us,' not 'me' or 'mine.' Relationships are built on shared experiences, and the most meaningful thing in my life are relationships. I truly wish I had more time. I wish I had more time to give you all.

"How do I sum up two decades in New England in one short speech? The answer is simple: you can't. It's hard for me to properly express my gratitude and my appreciation for how my time here has added to my life. There are too many lessons learned, too many stories to be told, too many incredible moments and achievements we all experienced together. It would take me 30 days to get through it all, not 30 minutes. There are so many people to thank, and I apologize in advance if I leave anybody out."

While the evening belonged to Brady, it was also notable for former head coach Bill Belichick -- who teamed up with the quarterback to construct the greatest NFL dynasty of the Super Bowl era -- returning to Gillette Stadium. Belichick, who parted ways with the franchise following the 2023 season, received a resounding ovation from the fans that clearly resonated with The Hoodie.

"Love you, New England," Belichick said. "Love you, Patriot fans. And love Tom Brady."

Belichick tried to begin his speech, but the fans wouldn't let him, continuing to roar with appreciation, chants of "Bill, Bill," to be heard.

"Thanks so much, that's such a warm welcome, I can't tell you how much it means to me to come back here and see the great Patriots fans, thank you," he said.

Belichick followed by thanking Brady, underscoring that he -- and so many more -- learned from the quarterback throughout their illustrious seasons together.

"It was a tremendous honor and a privilege for me to draft Tom and coach him for 20 years," Belichick said. "As we've heard from so many of his teammates, his pursuit of excellence, his work ethic, the drive, the competitiveness, the unselfishness, everything he brought to the team, it was really an honor for me to be involved with that and to be able to work with him every day and learn from it. We can talk about a lot his great plays and honestly, we'd be here all night, probably into the middle of next week."

In his enshrinement speech, Brady returned the praise for Belichick.

"It wasn't me," he said with conviction. "It wasn't you. It was us."

Since Brady departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play out the final seasons of his otherworldly career, there have been rumblings aplenty that there was a divide between him and Belichick. Brady did his best to set any records straight, delivering emphatic appreciation for his old coach.

"Let me make this crystal clear, there is no other coach in the world I would rather play for than Bill Belichick," he said.

Roughly four and a half years after he took his last snap with the Patriots and two and a half years after his last NFL play, Brady became the 35th player inducted into the Pats' Hall of Fame. That was on the agenda going into the Wednesday, though. What was announced during the festivities by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, however, was that Brady's No. 12 was retired and that a statue of the quarterback would be erected outside the team's Hall of Fame.

Kraft was the final speaker prior to Brady across a long evening overflowing with past and present Patriots, celebrities and members of the media.

Brady's enshrinement, announced during a ceremony for him last year, was a given, just as it will be in Canton, Ohio, when he's eligible in 2028 to be voted in.

Having achieved ample success during his final three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2020-2022, Brady had already put together two decades worth of all-time accolades during his run with the Patriots. Those accomplishments were remembered, lauded and appreciated on Wednesday.

Foremost in Brady's career and the night's revelry was the celebration of the aforementioned six Lombardi Trophies, which came as part of nine Super Bowl appearances. A 15-time Pro Bowler in his career, Brady had 14 all-star honors come with the Patriots, along with each of his three All-Pro accolades and three Most Valuable Player nods. Brady, who quarterbacked the Pats to 17 AFC East titles, ended his career with NFL records of 89,214 passing yards and 649 touchdown passes, with 74,571 and 541, respectively, coming in New England.

In celebration of Brady's extraordinary career, the night was hardly an ordinary induction.

Jay Z and Kenny Chesney performed, and Matt Damon had a video package along with a who's who of all-time NFL greats.

Following a package highlighting Brady's family and his upbringing, the star of the night joined Mike Tirico, and thereafter a parade of his former Patriots teammates were called up for discussions of their glory days and memories of playing with The G.O.A.T.

One of Brady's greatest rivals and friends, Peyton Manning, joined Brady and Tirico.

"A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to get inducted into the Hall of Fame," Manning said. "Tom Brady left training camp to come see my induction and I'm honored to be here tonight, and I promise I'll be there in a couple years when he's there in Canton, as well."

At one point, former Brady top targets Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Randy Moss were on stage. Moss received a standing ovation that brought him to tears, and Gronkowski heaped praise on his QB for his ability to galvanize so many.

"This is incredible," Gronkowski said. "And Tom, you're the only one that could bring so many people here together. All these ex-players, ex-teammates, all these fans. You're the only one in the organization that bring all this together and have a lovely night."

Members of the media also attended, such as Al Michaels, Jim Nantz and Rich Eisen, who noted Brady won the first Super Bowl covered by the NFL Network -- and plenty more after that.

It all ended with Brady delivering once more in Foxborough, professing his love and loyalty to the franchise that drafted him nearly a quarter of a century ago.

"It is the honor of my life to take my place among these other Patriot Hall of Famers and to be officially enshrined into the winning legacy of this amazing organization," he said. "You humble me, you make me proud and I am eternally grateful. I am Tom Brady, and I am a Patriot."

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