Tom Brady’s longtime personal trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero is on the record speaking about the quarterback’s departure from the Patriots.
Speaking to the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian, Guerrero painted a picture of a player whose relationship with head coach Bill Belichick was strained to the point that he felt unwanted in Foxborough. He said a big reason why the Brady-Belichick partnership deteriorated because, as Guregian wrote, “Belichick didn’t evolve as Brady matured into an NFL legend.”
“I think his emotions or feelings never evolved with age,” Guerrero said. “I think in time, with Tom, as Tom got into his late 30s or early 40s, I think Bill was still trying to treat him like that 20-year-old kid that he drafted. And all the players, I think, realized Tom was different.
“He’s older, so he should be treated differently. And all the players, none of them would have cared that he was treated differently. I think that was such a Bill thing. He never evolved. So you can’t treat someone who’s in his 40s like they’re 20. It doesn’t work.”
Guerrero’s comments are consistent with an infamous quote from Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, in Jeff Benedict’s book The Dynasty. Bundchen is quoted as lamenting to Robert Kraft that, in 2018, Belichick was still treating the then-40-year-old Brady like “f***ing Johnny Foxboro.”
Seth Wickersham, who has a book coming out Oct. 12 about the Brady-Belichick Patriots called It’s Better to be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness, tweeted out a single paragraph that seems to allude to the harsh treatment Belichick was still giving Brady as a player, even after five Super Bowl wins and a two-decade partnership.
The excerpt refers to a 34-16 Patriots win over the Houston Texans in the 2016 AFC Divisional Playoff. Belichick “lit into [Brady] in front of the entire team in a way nobody had ever seen” after the quarterback posted a 68.6 passer rating in the game. “We were lucky to get away with a win,” Belichick said, according to Wickersham’s account.
This, from 2018, and more, coming in two weeks. And if you want to discuss in person, please join me and @GlobeChadFinn , with @SilUnicornActon, on October 11:https://t.co/ETekjkMezNhttps://t.co/5HW2R7XpAc https://t.co/m9PbrzHGaR pic.twitter.com/sm4CxlZ58x— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) September 23, 2021
Guerrero’s new comments, and the Wickersham excerpt, don’t seem to make Brady look any better. Was it realistic to expect a 66-year-old coach to change his ways? Brady may be the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, but was it fair of him to expect special treatment, or to be absolved of criticism after playing poorly?
Belichick’s cold and calculated style played a bigger role in the Patriots’ sustained success than anyone in the Brady camp seems to want to admit at this point. Obviously, Brady still looks capable of playing at an elite level, and it would have been great for them to patch things up and enter a third decade of the Pats dynasty.
But the reality is, the two had enough of each other. It was incredible they lasted 20 years together in the first place. Big-picture, it’s more important for Belichick to find Brady’s successor, and he stumbled out of the gate with Cam Newton and no real backup plan in 2020. Mac Jones has shifted the needle back up a bit.
Anyone who expected Belichick to give in to what he saw as excessive demands from a star player, regardless of what he’d accomplished, isn’t being realistic. Put Brady and his camp at the top of that list.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.