“His will to win was the best I have ever seen and witnessed.”

Patrice Bergeron, 36, is living the last days of the eight-year contract extension he signed in July 2013.

Like many modern athletes, watching Tom Brady win the Super Bowl has been a part of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron’s life since before he became a professional athlete.

“It’s funny because when I was 16, playing triple-A midget at home, I think that was the year [the Patriots] won his first Super Bowl with that basket, [Adam] Vinatieri. It was a last second thing and I think they were sort of the wild card to win it,” Bergeron said in a video call Tuesday.

Now that Brady has officially hung up his cleats after weeks of speculation, Bergeron, like the rest of the sports world, is gearing up for a new world: one without Brady at the top of the NFL year after year.

But even all these years later, the Bruins star still remembers what watching the all-time great quarterback win his first Super Bowl title meant for Bergeron and his junior team, the St-Francois Blizzard Seminary in Quebec.

“For us at home, we kind of used that to our advantage as motivation to push ourselves to do our best. We were also in our playoff series and we were the underdogs. We kind of used that streak or that game to motivate ourselves.

Two years later, Bergeron came to the Bruins for his rookie season in 2003 just in time to see Brady and New England claim their third title in four years, sparking the first of their two dynasties.

Since then, the Bergeron team has won three Eastern Conference titles and presented Boston with its first Stanley Cup in nearly 40 years during the 2010-11 season. During that time, the Brady Patriots have won nine conference titles and six Super Bowls.

Much of that was down to the legendary quarterback, who the Bruins mainstay hailed as an inspiration on Tuesday.

“His competitiveness, first and foremost,” Bergeron said of what stood out to him at Brady. “The way he approached the game, the way he competed and wanted to win – his will to win was hands down the best I’ve seen and witnessed. It was a pleasure to watch during I think 22. An incredible career and a well-deserved retirement.