Tom Brady was hailed as the ultimate team player by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft after the superstar quarterback confirmed his retirement.

Mention of the Patriots was conspicuously absent from Brady's long retirement note, despite the 44-year-old winning six Super Bowls with the team.

He saw out the final two years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, adding another Super Bowl ring to achieve an unprecedented haul.

Regardless of whether Brady deliberately left the Patriots out of his farewell note, there remains obvious affection from Kraft towards the team's former main man, and Brady later expressed his gratitude for Kraft's message on social media.

Together with coach Bill Belichick, Brady helped New England become the most successful team in the NFL since the turn of the century.

Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Patriots, said: "Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career. A generation of football fans have grown up knowing only an NFL in which Tom Brady dominated.

"He retires with nearly every NFL career passing record, yet the only one that ever mattered to him was the team's win-loss record. In his 20 years as a starter his teams qualified for the playoffs 19 times. He led his teams to 10 Super Bowls, winning an NFL-record seven championships.

"In a team sport like football, it is rare to see an individual have such a dominant impact on a team's success.

"You didn't have to be a Patriots fan to respect and appreciate his competitiveness, determination and will to win that fuelled his success. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true.

"I have the greatest respect for Tom personally and always will. His humility, coupled with his drive and ambition, truly made him special. I will always feel a close bond to him and will always consider him an extension of my immediate family."

Brady later expressed his appreciation on Twitter, simply writing: "Thank you Patriots Nation. I'm beyond grateful. Love you all."

Tom Brady was saluted for "an absolutely incredible" career by Peyton Manning as the seven-time Super Bowl winner ended doubts by confirming his retirement.

Reports of Brady being ready to quit at the weekend were disputed – he was "still going through the process" on Monday – but they proved to be accurate as the 44-year-old declared on Tuesday he has played his final game.

Manning, himself one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, doffed his cap to superstar Brady as he remembered a rival with whom he shared a firm comradeship.

"Congratulations to my friend Tom on an unbelievable football career," Manning said.

"To do it as long as he did, at the highest of levels is absolutely incredible. It was an honour and a privilege to compete against him on the field, and I truly appreciate his friendship off the field.

"I have always admired and respected his competitiveness, his dedication, his discipline, and his commitment to being the best. I wish him the best in his next chapter. Congratulations again, pal!"

Manning, one year Brady's senior, retired in 2016 after winning two Super Bowls, one each with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. He has since been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and it will be Brady's turn in five years' time, when he becomes eligible.

Brady spent two years with the Bucs to round off his career, having won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.

A seventh ring arrived in season one in Tampa, but Brady could not guide Bruce Arians' team to another Super Bowl this time around.

Head coach Arians expressed his sorrow that Brady felt it was now time to go.

Arians said: "Tom joined us as the greatest football player of all time, and he quickly showed everyone in our organisation what that meant.

"He set a standard and helped create a culture that took our team to the mountaintop.

"It has been an honour to be his head coach for the past two seasons. I wish it didn't have to end, but few players have the opportunity to leave the game on their own terms. Even fewer can do it while playing at an elite level. Tom is the exception.

"I have a deep appreciation and respect for what he has done for our franchise, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in this chapter of life after football."

The Patriots, who were not directly thanked in a long retirement note from Brady, remarked on his retirement with a fond farewell

In a statement on Instagram, the Patriots said: "It was quite the ride. Thank you and congratulations, @tombrady."

Brady's warm words for the Bucs spoke of his enjoyment of his two-year ride into the sunset.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht, who previously worked for the Patriots, said: "I have had the distinct pleasure of being with Tom at both the beginning and end of his incredible NFL career. These past two seasons, I had the privilege to see up close the way he operates and the impact he has on a franchise – from coaches to players to staff.

"He set a standard for accountability, work ethic and performance that resonated through our building and in our locker room. His list of career accomplishments speaks for itself, but to finish a 22-year career while still performing at his peak was nothing short of extraordinary."

Former Denver Broncos wide receiver and Super Bowl 50 champion Demaryius Thomas has died, aged 33.

Roswell Police Department confirmed to the NFL that Thomas was found deceased in his home on Thursday, with preliminary information suggesting his death stemmed from a medical issue.

In a short statement on its Twitter page, the league said: "The NFL family mourns the tragic loss of Demaryius Thomas and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."

Thomas, who officially announced his retirement in June, having last played for the New York Jets in the 2019 season, spent eight and a half of his 10 years in the league with the Broncos.

Among tributes to the four-time Pro Bowler, a Broncos statement read: "We are devastated and completely heartbroken by the sudden, tragic passing of Demaryius Thomas. D.T. was beloved by our entire organisation, his team-mates and coaches, and our fans.

"Recently retiring as a Bronco, we were very much looking forward to celebrating Demaryius for years to come as one of the greatest players in franchise history."

The team added: "Demaryius' humility, warmth, kindness and infectious smile will always be remembered by those who knew him and loved him.

"We have lost an incredible player and a special person in Demaryius Thomas. Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to the Thomas family and all who are grieving this unimaginable loss."

A first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Thomas dealt with injuries in his first two seasons with the Broncos but was a starter in Denver thereafter.

In the 2013 season, in which quarterback Peyton Manning broke the single-season record for passing yards (5,477) and passing touchdowns (55), Thomas was the team's foremost offensive weapon (142 targets).

The receiver ranked fourth in the league for receiving yards (1,430) and second for receiving scores (14).

That season ended with a Thomas TD in a Super Bowl defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, but he and the Broncos returned to the title game two years later, winning the championship to end Manning's legendary career.

At the time of Thomas' retirement earlier this year, Manning said: "It was an honour and a privilege to play with you, to be your team-mate.

"I always had great respect for your toughness, your work ethic, your fearlessness across the middle, your ability to make big catches in big games.

"I never played with anybody as big and strong and powerful and as fast as you."

Hall of Famer and Denver Broncos great Peyton Manning said he is not involved with any potential new ownership groups and the Super Bowl-winning quarterback is unsure if he would like to be.

Manning joined the Broncos from the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and led the NFL franchise to Super Bowl 50 glory before retiring at the end of the 2015 season.

The Broncos could reportedly be sold next year if the children of late Pat Bowlen, who died in 2019, cannot agree who should be the majority owner.

Manning, however, is currently not interested in returning to the Broncos in an ownership capacity.

"I haven't had any serious conversations with anyone,'' two-time Super Bowl champion Manning said on Sunday. "Certainly, there's some people who have called me and said 'Hey, what do you think is going to happen with the Broncos? Are you going to try to own the team? I keep looking for that $3billion in my pocket, I can't find it, I think it's in a hidden account somewhere. That's not really on my radar.

"People are obviously interested, they're curious,'' Manning added. "I care because I live here and I go to the games, and I want to know what's going to happen like everyone else. But I have no relationship or agreement with anybody."

Manning – who was honoured before Sunday's 17-10 win over the Washington Football Team – added: "Even if I'm offered an opportunity, I haven't decided if I would even do it. I actually like what I'm doing now. I get to stay close to the game ... I get to coach [son] Marshall's flag football team, I went to a doubleheader softball game to see [daughter] Mosley play.

"I'm just taking everything on a one-year-at-a-time basis, next year who knows how I'll feel ... But I'll always be a part of the Broncos, I'll say that."

Football has been a part of Peyton Manning's life since the day he was born, and his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday amounted to a love letter to the sport. 

The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback was the headliner at the ceremony in Canton, Ohio, that honoured the 2020 and 2021 inductees. 

Famously personable, Manning took amiable shots at former rivals like Tom Brady and thanked those who helped him reach the game's pinnacle – starting with his father, Archie – but spent a significant portion of his speech looking ahead. 

"We have inherited the history of this sport, even helped create it, but our responsibility cannot stop there," Manning said. "If we simply relive history and don't ignite the future of the sport, then we're not doing football justice."

Manning acknowledged threats to his sport's hegemony in the United States and its worldwide appeal, from an increasingly fractured entertainment market to concussion concerns and polarising social-justice issues, before vowing to do what he could to maintain the sport's prominence and encouraging others to do the same. 

"I don't know about you but I'm not done with this game. I never will be," he said. "I'm committed to ensuring its future, and I hope you will join me in that commitment.

"As members of this honoured class, we have a responsibility to make our game stronger, from the corner playground to the most-celebrated stadiums. ...

"When we leave this stage tonight, it is no longer about us. It is about cultivating the game that has given so much to us. It's about nurturing football to live and thrive another day, another year, decade and another generation."

Joining Manning in the Class of 2021 were receivers Calvin Johnson and Drew Pearson, defensive back Charles Woodson, safety John Lynch, guard Alan Faneca, pioneering coach Tom Flores and legendary scout Bill Nunn.

The Class of 2020, whose induction was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, included receivers Isaac Bruce and Harold Carmichael, safeties Steve Atwater and Troy Polamalu, defensive backs Bobby Dillon and Donnie Shell, tackles Jim Covert and Winston Hill, defensive tackles Alex Karras and Duke Slater, ends Mac Speedie and Ed Sprinkle, running back Edgerrin James, guard Steve Hutchinson, coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson, general manager George Young, NFL Films co-founder Steve Sabol, and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.