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Bill Belichick confirms New England Patriots exit: NFL coaching great leaves after 24 years

Bill Belichick has left his role as New England Patriots head coach following 24 years and six Super Bowl titles with the franchise.

Belichick, who had one year remaining on his contract, paid an emotional farewell at a press conference on Thursday afternoon alongside owner Robert Kraft.

The Patriots ended the 2023 season with a 4-13 record, the worst of Belichick’s coaching career, and there had been widespread speculation over his future.

Belichick was named as Patriots coach in 2000 and oversaw an unprecedented run of success, including three Super Bowl titles in the space of four seasons, as well as 17 AFC East division titles and 18 play-off appearances.

The 71-year-old had been in talks with Kraft since the end of the season and confirmed the pair had reached a mutual decision to move on after the most decorated partnership in NFL history.

“Robert and I, after a series of discussions, have mutually agreed to part ways. And for me this is a day of gratitude and celebration,” Belichick said.

“I have so much thanks for the opportunity to be a coach here for 24 years. It is an amazing opportunity, I have received tremendous support.

“We had a vision of building a winner, building a championship football team here.

“That’s exceeded my wildest dreams and expectations, the amount of success that we were able to achieve together through a lot of hard work and contributions of so many people.

“So I am very proud of that. I will always have those great memories which I will carry for the rest of my life.”

With quarterback Tom Brady leading the offence, defensive specialist Belichick built a dynasty in New England.

The Patriots’ fortunes, though, declined since Brady left for Tampa Bay before the 2020 season and they have posted losing records in three of the four seasons since.

Belichick had a heartfelt message for the “amazing Patriots fans” having shared so many highs during his lengthy spell.

“I am so appreciative of all the support they have given me, my family in this football team, and it is with so many fond memories and thoughts when I think about the Patriots – and I will always be a Patriot.

“I look forward to coming back here, but at this time are going to move on. I look forward and am excited for the future, but will always be very, very appreciative of the opportunity and the support here.”

Kraft paid tribute to Belichick’s many achievements with the franchise.

“Like a good marriage, a successful head coach-owner relationship requires a lot of hard work – and I’m very proud our partnership lasted for 24 years,” he said.

“I don’t think in the NFL there’s been any other partnership that lasted longer, and has been as productive as ours.

“We had high expectations for what we could achieve together. I think we were the only ones who had those expectations, and I think it’s safe to say we exceeded them — thanks to you.”

Kraft added: “Coach Belichick will forever be celebrated as a legendary sports icon here in New England, and I believe go in as a Pro Football Hall of Famer on the first ballot.

“Why? Because he is the greatest coach of all time. Which makes this decision to part ways so hard.

“But this is a move that we mutually agreed that is needed at this time. What Bill accomplished with us, in my opinion, will never be replicated.

“It’ll be difficult to see him in a cut-off hoodie on the (opposing) sideline, but I will always continue to wish him continued success – except when he’s playing our beloved Patriots.”

Belichick has 333 career wins across the regular season and the play-offs, putting him 14 behind the record held by Hall of Famer Don Shula.

The 71-year-old gave no initial indication about what would be next in his career, but has already been linked with a move to other NFL franchises next season.

Belichick, George Halas and Curly Lambeau are the only NFL coaches with six championships since 1933 and the introduction of post-season play.

His 17 division titles, nine conference championships and 12 Super Bowl appearances (including three as an assistant coach) all stand as records.

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