- According to ESPN, there is a growing division among New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, and owner Robert Kraft – and much of it stems from the team’s relationship with Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trainer and business partner.
- Guerrero and Brady’s work together has reportedly created confusion on the team, as players are unsure whether to go to the duo or the team’s medical staff.
- After allowing Guerrero access to the team and facilities, Belichick revoked it this season.
- Some in the organization insist that something has to change, the report says, as the drama has left the Patriots’ future more uncertain than ever.
ESPN’s bombshell report on the New England Patriots dropped on Friday and revealed a growing fracture on the most successful NFL team of the past two decades.
According to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, the rift among quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft mostly stems from the team’s relationship Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trainer and business partner.
In 2004, Brady began working with Guerrero, who had worked with other Patriots players. A trainer and nutritionist with a sketchy background, Guerrero helped Brady dive into the world of so-called muscle pliability. Together, they founded the TB12 Sports Therapy Center and wrote “The TB12 Method” in 2017 about Brady’s lifestyle and training methods.
Since working with Guerrero, the report says, Brady has focused on playing into his mid-40s.
Belichick and the Patriots at first accepted Guerrero, the report says, as Belichick thought that if Guerrero had Brady’s best interests in mind, he would extend that to the team.
Belichick granted him access to the Patriots’ facilities, and Guerrero began working with other players.
However, according to ESPN, players have been confused about whether to see Guerrero or the team’s doctors about injuries and training.
“New players felt the surest way to earn Brady’s trust was to join Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and others by seeking advice from Guerrero at his TB12 clinic – and not team doctors, which Belichick preferred … But according to multiple sources, players openly discussed with Patriots coaches, staff and trusted advisers whether to follow Brady or the team, leaving them trapped: Do we risk alienating the NFL’s most powerful coach or risk alienating the NFL’s most powerful quarterback?”
The report says that when Belichick tried to discuss the matter with Brady, Brady denied knowing of any such division or pressure on the players.
According to the report, Belichick eventually tried to clarify Guerrero’s role by revoking his access to the sidelines and team headquarters but allowing him to work with players who sought him out. When Guerrero emailed players to tell them to go the TB12 center, the report says, some wondered whether Belichick was preventing players from working with Guerrero.
Other reports over the past year have hinted at a rift between Belichick and Guerrero. Wickersham previously reported that a “collision” between the men was coming, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter also referred to a “feud” but didn’t give specifics.
Part of the rift involves Brady’s desire to keep playing. According to the ESPN report, the team was at odds over transitioning from Brady to backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, as Belichick thought he could eventually succeed Brady and keep the team in championship form.
Brady’s contract negotiations with Kraft were also somewhat contentious, the report says – and with Garoppolo rejecting contract-extension offers from the Patriots, Kraft eventually demanded Belichick trade Garoppolo. He did so, making Brady both the present and future of the Patriots.
It’s unclear where the team goes from here. According to ESPN, Belichick’s plans are unknown, and some wonder whether he can withstand another year of drama with Brady and Guerrero. The team has no apparent future quarterback and could lose its two coordinators to head-coaching jobs in the offseason.
According to Wickersham, people in the organization think that “something has to change.”