‘It’s going to be weird’: Central Maine Patriots fans react to Tom Brady’s retirement from the NFL

Landen Chase had a feeling the news was coming. But when the Mt. Ararat high schooler saw Tom Brady’s retirement announcement on Tuesday morning, there was still a sense of shock and a sense of loss.

“He was always my idol growing up, and always will be,” said Chase, 16, who owns seven different Brady jerseys. “I kind of saw it coming, but losing a legend like that, even if he’s not with the Patriots yet, is always going to hurt. It’s not a day to prepare for.

Chase wasn’t the only Patriots fan to have these thoughts. When Brady announced he was leaving the game after 22 seasons, the fans who cheered him on for 20 of those seasons in New England found their own ways to deal with the blow.

Some, like Chase, could see it coming. Some were caught off guard. But everyone called it for what it was: the end of an era.

“I was actually quite shocked. I thought with the end of last year he would try to take over,” Gardiner resident Shane Clancy said. “It’s going to be weird (without him). “

West Gardiner’s Vanessa Novak said she and her family opened a bottle of wine to celebrate Brady’s career on Saturday when reports began to emerge that the seven-time Super Bowl champion had decided to retire.

“I wish he had retired from New England two years ago, but that’s the way it is,” she said. “I can’t thank him enough for what he brought to New England. … I hope his statement isn’t finished yet, because I think he didn’t thank the New England fans, his coach or his players up there, but I have a feeling that there might be something in the works where he comes to New England and pulls off a Patriot. for a day or whatever.

“He’s been QB1 for half my life,” added Chris McLaughlin, 44, a Bowdoinham resident and former University of Maine football player. “He’s really all I knew. … It just won’t be the same, but what are you going to do? We knew the day was coming, I just hoped it wouldn’t be today.

Jack Begin, a Cony graduate and football player who is now a freshman at the Naval Academy, was in chemistry class when he saw the official news.

Topsham’s Landen Chase sports his Tampa Bay No. 12 Tom Brady jersey days before the former New England star wins his seventh Super Bowl ring in 2021. Chase, a sophomore from Mt. Ararat born to a New England Patriots dynasty, said Brady’s official retirement announcement Tuesday is “not a day you prepare for.” Photo courtesy of Krista Chase

“I turned to my teacher and said, ‘Sir, I need to look at my phone real quick. I think Brady just announced he’s retiring. And he’s a huge football fan, so he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, go ahead,'” said Begin, who was at Gillette Stadium in January 2020 for Brady’s last game as a Patriot. “Brady has been the cornerstone of, really, the NFL for the last 20 years. … You just expect him to keep playing.

Brady’s retirement statement, posted in multiple Instagram posts, became a hot topic in the hours that followed. In a 17-paragraph post, Brady thanked members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization and their fans, but never mentioned the Patriots.

Many media outlets and fans described it as a snub. Locally, fans recognized that something was wrong.

“I have mixed emotions, because he kind of forgot about us. It’s almost like he forgot to thank the ex-wife during the divorce,” Novak said. “I don’t believe let it be a snub. … I feel like he’s going to come in here and say, ‘Hey, see you guys later, I love you guys, I’m a patriot through and through.’

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo of the AP file

“I was really surprised by that,” Begin added. “I didn’t really know how to take that. … For him, maybe that goodbye and recognition of the Patriots organization was when he left two years ago.

Later, Brady tweeted“Thank you Patriots Nation. I am beyond grateful. I love you all.”

Clancy said he felt like Brady would address the Patriots more in time.

“I think maybe later he will talk more about it,” he said. “It’s not like it was a Wade Boggs situation, where he went to a hated team (the New York Yankees).”

Chase also said he was waiting to see if there were more Bradys. For now, however, he said he would miss watching his favorite player.

“For about five or 10 minutes, I really let it sink in,” he said. “It’s just going to be weird every Sunday, not having Tom Brady cheering and cheering.”

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