BOSTON - Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are parting ways after 24 seasons together, according to multiple reports.
Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft spent the week discussing how each side wanted to proceed – and ultimately decided to part ways, according to the Associated Press and ESPN, both citing sources.
Belichick held a news conference Thursday afternoon local time to reflect on his time with the Patriots.
"It’s with so many fond memories and thoughts that I think about the Patriots," Belichick said on Thursday in a media availability with owner Robert Kraft. "I’ll always be a Patriot. I look forward to coming back here. But at this time, we’re going to move on. And I look forward, excited for the future." the Associated Press reported.
The AP noted that Belichick and Kraft didn't take questions, and Kraft is scheduled to have media availability later Thursday.
Belichick also thanked the fans for "the sendoffs, the parades, the Sundays." But most of his time was spent thanking the people throughout the organization, especially the more than 1,000 Patriots players he coached in his time here," according to the AP.
Kraft called the relationship with the Super Bowl-winning coach a marriage that required work and needed to come to an end.
"I’m very proud that our partnership lasted for 24 years," Kraft told the media. "Bill has taught me a lot over those years, and 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," the AP noted.
Tom Brady, who played for Belichick for 20 seasons with the Patriots, took to Instagram to praise the coach. "I’m incredibly grateful to have played for the best coach in the history of the NFL."
Brady continued "He was a great leader for the organization, and for all of the players who played for him. We accomplished some amazing things over a long period of time, many of which will be hard to replicate. he worked every day to help us achieve the ultimate goal, in the ultimate team sport. And, although we were successful, some of the greatest lessons I learned were in the moments where we faced the most challenging adversities. He set the tone for the organization to never falter in the face of adversity, and to do what we could do, and what was in our control, which was to go out and DO OUR JOB."
"I could never have been the player I was without you Coach Belichick. I am forever grateful. And I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose next."
Belichick, 71, became just the third coach in NFL history to reach 300 career regular season wins earlier this season, joining Hall of Famers Don Shula and George Halas. With 333 wins including the playoffs, Belichick trails only Shula (347 wins) for the record for victories by a coach.
But the Patriots ended this season 4-13, Belichick’s worst record in 29 seasons as an NFL head coach. It supplanted the 5-11 mark he managed in his last year in Cleveland in 1995 and again in his first year in New England in 2000. Including the playoffs, he ends his Patriots tenure with a 333-178 overall record.
Belichick teamed with quarterback Tom Brady to lead the Patriots to six Super Bowl victories, nine AFC titles and 17 division championships in 19 years. During a less successful — but also tumultuous — stint with the original Cleveland Browns, Belichick earned 37 of his career victories.
It was not immediately clear who Kraft would pick to replace Belichick.
The news comes after a similar shakeup in college football. Nick Saban announced his retirement as head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide after his 17th year and winning seven national championships. Saban worked for Belichick's father, Steve, in the 1980s as a coach at Navy.
Bill Belichick went on to hire Saban as his defensive coordinator when he became Cleveland's head coach in 1991.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.