New England Patriots

Seth Wickersham joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Friday to discuss his new report on the Patriots. In some cases, he strongly defended it.

Wickersham quickly felt plenty of blowback from both fans and local reporters who refute or totally deny certain aspects of the report. As you may expect, Wickersham declared in no uncertain terms his confidence in his story.

“I stand by my reporting,” said Wickersham. “We’re always cautious with what we print [at ESPN]. That’s the main thing. You want to verify things as much as possible and not just throw things out there, and this is another example of that.”

LISTEN: Full Seth Wickersham Interview

Seth Wickersham defended his new ESPN story on Toucher & Rich. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

One of the most strongly denied parts of the story was that either Tom Brady or Robert Kraft forced Bill Belichick to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Wickersham tends to agree that a “mandate” wasn’t explicitly delivered. However, he believes that a confluence of factors forced Belichick’s hand.

“Bill came out of that meeting feeling he was backed in a corner having to trade Garoppolo,” said Wickersham. “I don’t think Kraft ordered him to do something. I think the combination of everything … Kraft made a football decision for the first time in a long time, saying Jimmy Garoppolo was ‘not gonna be in our long term plans’. And Bill’s job from there was to find a trade, and that’s what I think happened.”

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On the idea that the Patriots’ internal tension could tear the dynasty apart, Wickersham also commented that it’s “remarkable” that it hasn’t happened sooner. In addition, he acknowledged that much of the story was “brewing” in the media for a while. Additionally, he confirmed that he reached out to Brady, Belichick, and Kraft.

Listen to the full interview above!

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