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Benjamin Watson leaves tribute to Tom Brady on QB’s Instagram post

Tom Brady took to Instagram Wednesday to share a heartfelt note of gratitude to New England Patriots fans and all but confirm he will return for his 21st NFL season in 2020.

Among the myriad responses, tributes and accolades shared in the comments section of the post was one from Brady’s longtime teammate, tight end Benjamin Watson, who wrote, “We all need to be thanking you!”

The 42-year-old Brady’s lengthy social-media dispatch closed with the message, “I know I still have more to prove.”

View this post on Instagram

I just wanted to say to all of our fans, THANK YOU! After a few days of reflection, I am so grateful and humbled by the unconditional support you have shown me the past two decades. Running out of that tunnel every week is a feeling that is hard to explain. I wish every season ended in a win, but that’s not the nature of sports (or life). Nobody plays to lose. But the reward for working hard is just that, the work!! I have been blessed to find a career I love, teammates who go to battle with me, an organization that believes in me, and fans who have been behind us every step of the way. Every one of us that works at Gillette Stadium strived to do their best, spent themselves at a worthy cause, and prepared to fail while daring greatly (h/t Teddy Roosevelt). And for that, we’ve been rewarded with something that the scoreboard won’t show – the satisfaction of knowing we gave everything to each other in pursuit of a common goal. That is what TEAM is all about. In both life and football, failure is inevitable. You dont always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove.

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Watson clearly agrees with that sentiment, as evidenced in the message conveyed in his heartfelt tribute to Brady.

“Your leadership is an inspiration, your example exemplary, and your fire is contagious,” Watson wrote in the comment. “Generations of players have been blessed to take the field and share the locked room with you. You made everyone better and made us appreciate this game all the more.”

Watson also pointed out how Brady’s commitment to excellence, even on the practice field — not to mention the class he demonstrated with how he made time to share moments with teammates’ families — was contagious.

“Kindness lasts forever. Play as long as you desire to,” Watson added. “This decade needs some TB records as well. Fan for life.”

Set to become a free agent for the first time in his two-decade NFL career, Brady conceivably played his last game as a member of the Patriots in the team’s loss to the Tennessee Titans in the wild-card round last week.

While nothing is certain, as it’s certainly possible Brady does indeed return to the Patriots next season, Watson’s message makes it’s clear he made an indelible impression on many of his teammates during his tenure in New England.