Seth Wickersham’s longform ESPN story on the apparent rift between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots painted a compelling portrait of dysfunction within the NFL’s coldest winning machine.
Brady, Wickersham reported, had fallen out with Belichick over the quarterback’s close relationship with controversial trainer Alex Guerrero. The discord in Foxborough apparently went as high as owner Robert Kraft, who ordered Belichick to trade Jimmy Garoppolo away from New England. (The Patriots sent Garoppolo, Brady’s anointed successor, to the San Francisco 49ers where he has excelled so far).
Belichick said at the start of January he hadn’t read Wickersham’s story and called it “baseless” in quotes reported by Boston Magazine. A joint statement from Belichick, Kraft and Brady called the claims in the story, “Unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate.” (Wickersham has stood by his story and sources).
Apparently Belichick was more amused than angered by the story, though. Guerrero went on the Kirk and Callahan Show this week and told host Kirk Minihane that Belichick laughed when Wickersham’s report was published. “Alex Guerrero told @kirkmin last night that after the @SethWickersham story broke Bill Belichick laughed, high fived him and said: 'We made news today,'” the Kirk and Callahan Twitter account stated.
Brady credits Guerrero with mainatining his form as the NFL’s best quarterback in his fifth decade. But Guerrero also has a complicated past. He has been investigated by federal regulators for “deceptively promoting nutritional supplements,” according to The Boston Globe.
The Globe also reported in 2015 on alleged tensions between Patriots medical staff and Guerrero over his close ties to the Patriots (he treats several other Patriots players aside from Brady).
The controversy generated by Wickersham’s story doesn’t seem to have affected the Patriots on the field. New England plays the Eagles on Sunday in what will be its eighth appearance in a Super Bowl during the Belichick and Brady era.