Becoming Tom Brady’s best friend isn’t easy. “Saying goodbye is even harder”

Tom Brady chucked around a football on the beach with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman Danny Amendola and others. And while Brady has — for 23 years — practiced his throws with the intention of winning another Super Bowl, the quarterback got an opportunity to truly play. To mess around. To enjoy a game of pickup with his buddies.

It was his retirement party. Tequila and jet skis were involved.

Many of his best friends — both from the NFL and other walks of life — were there to celebrate the seven-time Super Bowl champion QB. It brought closure to the career of the former New England Patriot and Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

“It was awesome to see like the closest guys that had been there with him to celebrate,” veteran NFL quarterback Brian Hoyer told FOX Sports.

But there was also a fair amount of ribbing.

“We were like, ‘Hey, this is just for the first retirement, there’s got to be another party for the second. You know, you’ve retired twice,'” Hoyer said with a laugh.

If there’s anyone who knows how hard it can be to say goodbye, it’s Brady’s best friends from the NFL. Football builds profound relationships — friendships that can’t form in a typical work environment. The league is also transactional and inevitably, players have to go their separate ways. I chatted with Brady’s best NFL friends, from Gronkowski to Edelman to Hoyer to Wes Welker, to get a sense of what that experience was like for them.

“That was probably the hardest part of leaving — the friendships made, and especially with Tom and the chemistry that we’d built over those six years together,” Welker said. “It’s never easy to make those decisions and, to me, that was the hardest part of that decision.”Brady wasn’t exactly thrilled either.

“He knew where I was coming from with everything,” Welker said. “We had our conversations, but I think he understood. I still don’t think he was happy about it. But you know, I think he understood it.”

The NFL can be brutal on friendships. Free agency, trades, retirements, cuts, waivers — there are so many ways for players to end up on different teams. Gronkowski first decided to retire in 2018. He was reduced to tears when he called Brady to let him know.

Of course, Gronk’s retirement didn’t last long. He eventually came back to play two more seasons with Brady in Tampa from 2020 to 2021 — a testament to the brotherhood the two men share. Brady is basically the only starting quarterback Gronk played for. There were a few games here and there when Gronk caught passes from someone else. But Brady was Gronk’s guy.

“He was definitely my quarterback. I didn’t see any other way of me playing with another quarterback while he was playing,” Gronk said. “We’re not teammates on the field anymore, but we’re going to be teammates for life.”





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