ESPN put a lot of eggs into Seth Wickersham’s piece on dysfunction on the Patriots. In the story, it was speculated that the end could be near for the ruling triumvirate of Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Since that story was posted Friday, the team and the individual pieces have gone out of their way to deny parts of the story with great vigor.
It was Tom Brady’s turn Tuesday morning during his weekly appearance with Kirk and Callahan on WEEI.
Though he claimed not to have read the entire story, Brady apparently had someone do it for him, saying he’s well educated on the more pointed details of what was -- at its core -- a less than flattering look at the quarterback. It portrayed him as petty and jealous and believing he is beyond reproach.
“I have been a part of a lot of articles over the years that I disagree with,” said Brady. "People can write whatever they want to write. This is a free country. You can say what you want to say. I am evaluated on my job, I am sure other people are evaluated on their jobs. I think it is just being in my position and I understand there’s 31 other cities where people aren’t Patriots fans or Tom Brady fans. Here there’s a lot competition within our media. I have been a part of that for a long time, too.
"I think you just have to take the good with the bad. It’s probably harder on the people who care about me . . . They read it, probably like a lot of other people, you read it and when we grew up, what you read in the paper was the truth. I think now you just have to take everything -- it’s just a little bit different now.”
At the heart of the piece was a power struggle between the three egos: Kraft, Belichick and Brady. It was written that Kraft mandated a Jimmy Garoppolo trade despite the coach’s desire to keep the player and eventually transition from the 40-year-old Brady to the 25-year-old Jimmy G. Belichick wouldn’t discuss the allegation, but Brady had no problem shooting down the notion that he was “liberated” when the trade happened.
“I think that is such a poor characterization," he said. "In 18 years I have never celebrated when someone has been traded or been cut. I would say that is disappointing to hear that someone would express that, or a writer would express that because it is so far from what my beliefs are about my teammates and I think I am very empathetic about other people’s experiences. I know those situations aren’t easy.
"I have never been traded or released, but I can imagine how that might feel. I would never feel that way when Jimmy got traded, or Jacoby [Brissett] got traded. I have kept in touch with all those guys. When Matt Cassel was gone -- all these guys I’ve worked with. I feel like I have had such great relationships with all the quarterbacks I have worked with. I have kept him touch with basically everybody. To characterize that as a certain way is just completely wrong.”
There was also the story of Garoppolo being turned away from the TB12 Sports Therapy Center at Patriot Place in the immediate aftermath on his shoulder injury last season. It was said that Garoppolo was locked out of the facility and ended up not being seen by Brady’s business partner/body coach Alex Guerrero until two weeks after the fact. Multiple attempts by this reporter to confirm that story have failed, though I was told and reported multiple times that there were clear lines for when Garoppolo could and couldn’t use Guerrero. As for the alleged lockout, Brady scoffed.
“Again, it’s hard to even answer those questions," he said. "It is so far from any truth that I know, or any characterization of my relationship with my teammates. I have never denied anybody anything in regards to TB12. I have always found it very flattering when teammates go there. Again, I think this speaks to someone whether it is the writer himself, or whoever he spoke to, what agenda they might have in painting some type of picture.
"I think [Belichick] always says speak for yourselves and I have always tried to go by that. Like I said, I have a great relationship with all my teammates. I certainly did with Jimmy. I loved working with Jimmy. We had a great time together. I wish him nothing but the best, like always. Just like all my teammates, really. I think that is just how I feel about him.”
Guerrero has also been a hot topic of conversation this year, with his access reduced at the stadium and on the road, much to the quarterback’s dismay. Brady is a devout follower of Guerrero’s methods and in the story it was stated that Brady would tell his teammates, “Bill’s answer to everything is to lift more weights,” which certainly runs counter to Guerrero’s teachings. Brady claims that part of the story to be false as well.
“Again, I am not a divisive person," he said. "I don’t speak about things like that, and again, I think we’ve talked for a long time about how I feel about training and my preparation. Again, people come up to me whether it is my teammates, or other guys and say, ‘Hey, what are the things that you do? What are the things that have worked for you?’ I can just convey that certain message. Whether that is how I train, or how I eat, or sleep, or drink, all those things. I just try and give them the answer that works for me. It certainly doesn’t have to work for everybody. Every player, it is up to them to either listen to what I am saying and either use it or not use it. It’s their career. It’s not that I couldn’t care less. I want everyone to experience the things I have experienced as I have gotten older. That is just what I try and convey.”
Finally, as for tiring of Belichick’s harsh critiques and unwillingness to throw verbal bouquets at the quarterback regularly, Brady said he wouldn’t change the last 18 years for anything.
“Coach Belichick has been such a great coach and mentor and I certainly could never accomplish anything in this sport without everything that he has taught me," Brady said. "I have been so lucky to play for this team. There’s been so many great coaches here, players, staff members, Mr. Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft]. I have had such great support here. I think again, to characterize it any differently than how I say it, and again, I could say it a million times and then someone could write one thing. It is really up to whoever is listening that wants to believe it and maybe they want to believe it because that’s what they want to believe. They want to believe things are maybe different, or maybe they want to believe -- I don’t know.”
Wickersham has repeatedly stated that he stands by his story.