New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. Credit: Mary Schwalm / AP

The door was open for Tom Brady to return to New England following the 2019 season, but the Tampa Bay quarterback instead chose door No. 2.

That’s what Bill Belichick revealed on his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday morning, saying the Patriots would have welcomed back the now seven-time Super Bowl champion.

“There were a lot of things there,” said Belichick. “He looked at his options and made his decision. We weren’t as good an option as Tampa. You’d have to ask him about all of that. But it wasn’t a question of not wanting him, that’s for sure.”

Belichick also downplayed the notion that this Sunday’s game with the Buccaneers pits him personally against Brady and that there is any animosity between two.

“Tom and I had, I feel like, a good relationship and a lot of production, obviously, while we were together,” said Belichick. “I enjoyed coaching Tom. He was a great player for us. Sunday night we line up across from Tampa and not just him, but the entire team. They are obviously a very good team, so that’s all about our team competing against Tampa’s team.”

The subject of Brady is sure to dominate the conversation this week, but Belichick did not let it dominate his Monday morning media session, declining on multiple occasions to expand on the comments he made on the radio.

“I’m not going to go back and rehash all that. I’m focused on the game here,” said Belichick. “I have so much respect and appreciation for Tom and everything he did here and for me and for our team. We are just getting ready to compete against Tampa this week and we are going to keep our focus on that.”

Story by Tom Fargo, Boston Herald