- Maddie Meyer/Getty
- A new book from author Mark Leibovich claims Tom Brady is still unhappy with the New England Patriots and that his relationship with Bill Belichick is more “strained” than ever.
- According to Leibovich, Brady has told people close to him that playing for Belichick has become a grind.
- Some people close to Brady reportedly even believe he wouldn’t be devastated if he was released by the Patriots, though that is highly unlikely to happen.
Following reports of growing tensions and rifts within the New England Patriots, Tom Brady hasn’t done much this offseason to dispel those notions.
Since losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, Brady has: waited longer than usual to confirm his return to football, skipped (voluntary) OTAs to work out at his facility next door, and dropped cryptic, scripted comments about feeling underappreciated by the team.
According to Mark Leibovich’s new book “Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times,” (excerpt via Slate) there are still rumblings about Brady’s unhappiness with the Patriots, some of which have come from Brady’s camp.
Much like previous reports, according to Leibovich, much of it has to do with Brady feeling unappreciated by the Patriots. After 18 years in Bill Belichick’s rigid, no-nonsense system, Leibovich reported that Brady has begun to feel the entire thing has become a grind.
“[Brady] has spoken – to friends, teammates, and relatives – about how playing in Foxborough had indeed become a dismal grind,” Leibovich wrote. “He felt he had earned more deference and gratitude from a coach who probably owes his Hall of Fame career more to him than to anyone else.”
Leibovich suggested that Brady began to take control of his narrative vs. Belichick’s with his nutrition and workout manual, “The TB12 Method” and through the Facebook docu-series “Tom vs. Time.”
According to Leibovich, while questions lingered over whether Brady would return to the team (he had not hinted at retirement; he just had not confirmed his return) Brady remained “unhappy” with the state of the Patriots and his relationship with Belichick was “strained beyond what it had been in years.”
According to Leibovich, Brady even met with the team owner Robert Kraft and came away feeling as though nothing would change.
One of the reported rifts in the organization was over Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Last year, the Patriots decided to trade Garoppolo before he hit free agency. ESPN reported that the Patriots knew they could not make Garoppolo the starter while Brady was still playing at his peak, but they didn’t think Garoppolo would re-sign with the team to remain a backup. Kraft reportedly ordered Belichick to trade Garoppolo, to Belichick’s displeasure.
However, according to Leibovich, sources close to Brady think “it wouldn’t kill Brady if the Patriots were to release him into free agency, allowing him to control his next move.” Of course, with no successor in place now, that would never happen.
Brady has insisted he’s happy in Foxborough, and that he wants to remain a Patriot. Even with the cracks in the formation, the Patriots are indeed slated to contend this season. But at the least, it seems murmurs of unhappiness in the organization and when the dynasty might fall apart will continue this year.