Patriots: Robert Kraft still thinks Tom Brady will retire in New England

The New England Patriots lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday night, as Nick Folk’s go-ahead 56-yard field goal attempt in the final minute of regulation bounced off the right upright to seal the win for Tom Brady in his return to Foxborough.

After the game, Brady was asked by NBC’s Michele Tafoya to describe his emotions on what could’ve been last chance to play at Gillette Stadium.

In typical Brady fashion, he pushed back and noted that the Bucs and Patriots could lock horns again down the road before he calls it a career.

If it was the final act, though, Brady reassured fans that they’ll see plenty of him during retirement.

Speaking of which, has anyone stopped to think who Brady will retire with as opposed to predicting when he’ll hang ’em up? Will he retire on top with the Bucs after, say, winning another Super Bowl? Or will he return to his old stomping grounds and retire as a member of the Patriots?

If you asked Robert Kraft, he still thinks the latter scenario will play out.

Robert Kraft is holding out hope that Tom Brady will retire as a member of the Patriots.

“I’m always rooting for Tommy, except when he’s playing us,” Kraft told the NFL Network before kickoff. “In the end, I hope and believe he’ll come back here and we’ll give him his red jacket, and he’ll retire a Patriot.”

It would certainly be a fitting end to a legendary career, but it’ll be Brady’s choice. We certainly don’t want to set fans’ expectations too high, but the seven-time champ seemed to leave the door open for a potential return to New England after he was informed of Kraft’s comments.

“Are you offering me a one-day contract or did he offer me that?” Brady joked. “He didn’t offer me that, so… I still got some time left with the Bucs, and like I said, really enjoying that.

“I don’t know what the future holds. Obviously could be an opportunity to come back here. We’ll see. I feel like I’ll always be a part of this community. I’ll be up here quite a bit when it’s all said and done. When I retire I’m sure there will be a lot of time for — you know, I have a lot of friends up here and it’s a great place.”

Brady’s contract with the Buccaneers expires after the 2022 season and he’s hinted at playing beyond that deal. However, the chances of an on-field reunion in Foxborough are slim given the capital the Patriots invested in Mac Jones, who went toe-to-toe with the consensus GOAT in primetime.

Brady and the Patriots are simply on different timelines right now. He’s enjoying his time with Tampa Bay as they look to repeat as world champs, and New England is taking the proper steps to develop Jones.

While it’s unclear what kind of reunion Kraft was referring to, it’ll likely end up being a one-day contract between Brady and the Patriots once he decides to call it a career. We could be wrong, but that seems to be where this is headed.