"You have so many teammates that admired your work ethic and will to win, and I am at the top of the list," Tom Brady wrote in a lengthy note to Julian Edelman, who announced his NFL retirement Monday
Tom Brady and Julian Edelman
Tom Brady and Julian Edelman
| Credit: Tom Brady/Instagram

Tom Brady is giving his friend and former teammate, Julian Edelman, a heartfelt send-off following the latter's announcement that he is retiring from professional football.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, 43, posted a gallery of photos of himself and Edelman during their time together on the New England Patriots, beginning the caption of his Monday post with a sweet story about the wide receiver's bond with Brady's 8-year-old daughter Vivian Lake.

"As I was writing this note, Vivi saw the first picture and said 'daddy, tell Julian to cut his beard, I don't like it' ... which of course Jules, she never did like it ... but you know who did ... Me!!" Brady wrote. "Because it meant you were locked in and it was playoff time. That was when you shined the most. On the biggest stage and in the biggest moments, you always came through."

The reigning Super Bowl champion went on to praise the "journey" Edelman, 34, has taken throughout his career, which Brady said he was honored to bear "witness" to.

"[I] am so proud of you and how you grew from 7th round underdog to an older 7th round underdog. The truth is, you never really grew up 😂😂!" Brady joked. "You never lost that chip on your shoulder. You never let anyone define you as a person or player."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman and Tom Brady
| Credit: Tom Brady/Instagram
Tom Brady and Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman and Tom Brady
| Credit: Al Bello/Getty

RELATED: Julian Edelman Sits Courtside with Tom Brady, Teases Quarterback Is "Coming Back" to Patriots

Brady told Edelman in his message that he has "so many teammates that admired your work ethic and will to win, and I am at the top of the list because when I was down and feeling sorry for myself at times, you were right there to pick me up."

"You were as tough as could be and I love you for all that you did to make our teams as great as they could possibly be," he continued.

In conclusion, Brady said he was "encouraged" by and "so happy for" Edelman over "the changes you made in your life," like becoming a dad, and noted the importance of "gratitude and perspective" in the grand scheme of Edelman's decision to leave the NFL.

"You had an amazing football journey, an amazing life journey in New England, and I have no doubt you will succeed in anything you choose to do next! LFG ❤️❤️❤️," Brady said, joking, "P.S. the best Met Gala date crasher in the world! 🤣"

RELATED VIDEO: Eli Manning Retires from NFL, Ending 16-Season Career with the New York Giants

Edelman announced his retirement with a video shared on Instagram and Twitter Monday. The footage began with a 360-degree shot of the athlete sitting in the middle of the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, as audio of his career highlights played in the background.

"Due to an injury last year, I'll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football," Edelman said in his message. "It was a hard decision, but the right decision for me and my family."

His announcement came hours after ESPN reported that his contract had been terminated following a failed physical exam. Last season, he only played in six games due to a knee injury.

Edelman added that he was "honored" and "proud" to be concluding his playing career as a Patriot, before thanking his former coaches, family and fans: "It's been the best 12 years of my life. It's a helluva run. I can't forget you, Patriot Nation. You guys have welcomed me and my family to a region we do not know, we didn't know. But now, I'm one of you. I'm a leave you guys with two words: Foxborough Forever."