Bill Belichick Leaves New England Patriots ‘Amicably’ After 24 Years
After six Super Bowl championships and 20 division titles, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will part ways "amicably" after 24 seasons.
Owner Robert Kraft said during a press briefing Thursday that he and Belichick agreed that despite their success, this is what is best for the team. They did not take any questions from reporters at the briefing.
The 71-year-old's departure had been expected since the end of the Patriots' 4-13 season, their worst since he first became coach in 2001. He took over from Pete Carroll, who was fired by the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday.
During a press conference, Belichick called it a day of "gratitude and celebration" and thanked owner Robert Kraft and his family for the "amazing opportunity" that exceeded his expectations.
"All the success were were able to achieve together through the hard work and contributions of so many people. I'm very proud of that. I'll always have those great memories I'll carry the rest of my life," Belichick said.
Kraft had mixed emotions about the decision and recalled hiring Belichick for a second tenure with the team. He believes Belichick should enter the NFL Hall of Fame on the first ballot, because he is the "greatest coach of all time."
"I trusted my instincts to bring Bill back to New England in 2000 after immediately regretting not working with him together in 1996. When I did hire him, I was still making the transition from the fan who bought season tickets in '71 sitting on the metal benches in the old Foxboro Stadium with my boys to try and become an experienced owner," Kraft said. "We had high expectations for what we could achieve together. I think it's safe to say we exceeded them."
Kraft said that he wished Belichick well in his future, except for when the opponent is the Patriots.
The team did not disclose its next step in hiring a new coach.
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