Over the past decade and a half, the New England Patriots have made themselves into appearing like a rock solid dynasty with no signs of crumbling. However, rumors surrounding the breaking down of the relationships between quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and team owner Robert Kraft have caused quite the stir in the NFL community.
Allegedly, Kraft went far out of his way to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers this past regular season, as the 40-year-old Brady has stated that he plans on playing well into his forties. However, the ever-pragmatic Belichick was surprised by the move, as he wanted to keep Garoppolo on the Patriots until Brady decided to call it quits. The move had strained relationships between the three, a rumor which was punctuated by ESPN the Magazine saying that Brady was celebrating the fact that Garoppolo would no longer be a threat to his job.
Specifically, the story said “some players and staffers noticed that Brady seemed especially excited, hollering and cajoling,” following the Garoppolo trade, reports which Brady now denies and says are a “poor characterization.”
During his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan Show on Tuesday, Brady said,
I think that’s just such a poor characterization of anything. In 18 years, I’ve never celebrated when someone has been traded, been cut. I would say that’s disappointing to hear that someone would express that, or a writer would express that, because it’s so far from what my beliefs are about my teammates.
He continued on to say,
I think I’m very empathetic toward other people’s experiences. I know those situations aren’t easy. I’ve never been traded or released, but I can imagine how that might feel. I would never, ever feel that way about when Jimmy got traded, when Jacoby [Brissett] got traded. I’ve kept in touch with all those guys. When Matt Cassel was gone. All these guys I’ve worked with, I felt like I had such a great relationship with all the quarterbacks I’ve worked with. I kept in touch with basically everybody. So to characterize that as a certain way is just completely, completely wrong.
Despite the weight the story has carried over the past week, Brady said that he hasn’t read the entire thing, but read enough to get this gist of what was being said.
When asked if the story bothered him, Brady said,
I think there are a lot of things that are said. I think you can go about your life, and certainly here with this team, and try to do what I’ve always done for a long time, and be a good teammate, and work as hard as I can to help the team win, and then somebody can write something to contradict that, and I think it’s up to everybody to believe what they want to believe. I don’t put too much thought into it, really. I feel like I have a great relationship with my teammates. If others don’t feel like they have a great relationship with me, that’s one thing, but I try to do what I’ve always done and be the best teammate I can be. I don’t think that’s ever really changed in my mind.
The alleged strain between Brady and Garoppolo also involved accusations that Brady did not allow Garoppolo to work out with Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero. When asked about that, Brady simply defended his relationship with Guerrero without touching on Garoppolo much, saying, “You guys obviously know how I feel about Alex and the work we’ve done together. I just keep doing what my process has been and worked [for me] for a long time.”
Finally, when asked what about the story was true, Brady gave the rather ambiguous response of that’s “a tough question.” He said,
Everyone has different truths,. When you talk about the way I see things, the way you guys see things, the way the writer may see things, the way Coach Belichick may see things, everyone has different truths based on their perspectives. I feel like I go about my business like I have every year, and again, I like to speak for myself, because that’s how — I don’t want to speak on someone else’s behalf or what their experiences are. I try to do the best I can do, like I’ve always done.
No one can be certain as to how much truth there is to all of Brady’s statements, but the rumors about his reaction to the Garoppolo trade kinda make sense. While starting at the beginning of the 2016-17 season for the Pats during Brady’s 4-game suspension to start the year, Garoppolo showed a very solid ability to lead a team to success. He’s followed through on that flash of potential in San Francisco, winning each of the 5 games he started with the 49ers and looking fantastic while doing it.
Regardless, the Patriots still managed to snag the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs this season and are strong favorites to win the Super Bowl, so everything seems fine for them in the near future. However, we all knew that the massive stone monument that has been the 21st century New England Patriots would crumble at some point, but it looks like that might be happening sooner than we thought before.