Bill Belichick is going to be asked about Tom Brady a lot this week.
It began Monday morning with the coach's weekly appearance on WEEI, and continued with his usual Monday press conference. Belichick was succinct and firm in his first response regarding Brady's 2020 departure from the Patriots when speaking with reporters.
"I'm not going to go back and rehash all that," Belichick said. "We've talked about that. Really my focus is on the game here.
"Look, I have so much respect and appreciation for Tom and everything he did here, and for me and for our team. We're just getting ready to compete against Tampa this week and we're going to keep our focus on that."
Belichick hasn't truly opened up on the matter since Brady left for Tampa, where he joined the Buccaneers and led them to their second Super Bowl triumph in franchise history in his first season. The coach pointed to a statement released by the team following Brady's departure as an adequate comment on Brady's departure when pressed further on the matter, and didn't shock a soul when asked if he was surprised by Brady's instant success.
"Tom's a great player. Nothing surprises me that he does," Belichick said, showing the slightest hint of a smile.
Brady willingly left New England after 20 seasons with the Patriots at a point in which it seemed there were only two options: ride out the remainder of his career and prevent the Patriots from taking the next step into a future that would eventually not include him, or head elsewhere to a team better equipped to immediately contend for Super Bowls. With remaining time not on his side, Brady chose the latter, winning his seventh Super Bowl in his career while Belichick's Patriots missed the playoffs.
Folks have already spent time revisiting what happened between Brady and the Patriots in their final days together, with Brady's trainer and confidant Alex Guerrero speaking on the topic last week. "Sunday Night Football" promoted the upcoming prime-time meeting between Brady's Buccaneers and Belichick's Patriots with a clip of Carrie Underwood singing "Brady's going home" following the Packers-49ers thriller Sunday night.
It's the leading topic for everyone this week. It's just not one Belichick would prefer to discuss at length.
"I think we've been through all the dynamics of that. There were a lot of things there," Belichick said on WEEI. "He looked at his options and made his decision. We weren't as good an option as Tampa. You'd have to ask him about that, but it wasn't a question about not wanting him, that's for sure."
Ultimately, despite publicly expressing a desire to keep Brady in New England, the two sides parted ways. They'll meet on the field for the first time since their split in six days, and we'll certainly spend more time and internet space covering it.