New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty admits it's a "little bittersweet" to see former teammates Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski make the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but still he is happy for his former teammates.
Brady, 43, spent the first 20 seasons of his NFL career with the Patriots, before signing with the Buccaneers last offseason. Meanwhile, Gronkowski, who was drafted by the Patriots in the 2010 NFL draft, retired from the NFL in 2018.
After taking a year off and healing from his injuries, Gronkowski wanted to come back but he didn't want to play again for the Patriots so New England and the Buccaneers worked out a trade that sent the tight end to Tampa Bay.
"To watch those two guys leave our team and bring everything they've learned to Tampa, a team that didn't make the playoffs last year and now is having an opportunity to win a world championship, it's been awesome to watch," McCourty said on ESPN's Get Up on Friday.
"And obviously, a little bittersweet because you would rather those two guys suiting up with you on Sundays." "But it's still awesome to see those guys going out there and doing it again. Obviously, for Tom and his legacy and what he's done in this league, he doesn't have to do any more.
But to continue to watch him and his greatness, and continue to get better and better each year, it's just unbelievable."
The Patriots missed the playoffs without Brady
For the first time since 2007, the Patriots didn't make the playoffs.
Brady led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins during his time in New England. "I think as a team, organization, we moved on. But you lost Tom Brady. You lost the best quarterback in the NFL. You don't just replace that.
You don't just make up for that. We definitely felt that. We lose Tom, we don't have an offseason to even begin to try to process that, and prepare and get ready. The guy's been the best quarterback in the NFL for the last two decades," McCourty said.
Recently, Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave credit to Brady for the things he did for the Patriots. "We were privileged to have him here for two decades, and he's one of the finest human beings I've ever met. He knows how to lead and I wish him well," Kraft said in the CBS interview.