Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s 18-year coach/quarterback partnership has been the most successful in NFL history. Part of the reason for that has been the harmony between the two during that era. Now, for the first time, we may be seeing evidence of a rift between the two, as Belichick has reportedly banned long-time Brady associate Alex Guerrero from the team plane and sidelines.
Guerrero is Brady’s trainer, friend and business partner, and for years has had an office near the New England Patriots locker room. He had previously been allowed on the sidelines and has traveled on the team’s charter to games. But a few weeks ago, Belichick revoked those privileges, banning Guerrero from the team’s flights, sideline and he is no longer allowed to treat players other than Brady at the team’s facility.
Brady and Guerrero have partnered for years and many of his teammates, have used Guerrero’s methods, eschewing the New England Patriots’ medical and training staff. Apparently Belichick has had enough of that.
The Boston Globe had the story of the rift on Tuesday. Here are some of the telling excerpts from what is an explosive piece:
"Belichick also permitted Guerrero, Brady’s close friend and business partner, to secure his own office near the Patriots locker room, fly on the team charter to road games, and receive credentials to work the sidelines of every game, home and away. But this season the Patriots coach has reversed course. For reasons he has declined to explain, Belichick weeks ago stripped Guerrero of his special team privileges, restoring a measure of tradition to the team’s medical and training operation, according to several people familiar with the Patriots’ internal operations. Guerrero is now banned from boarding Patriots jets. His sideline access has been revoked. And he no longer is permitted to treat players other than Brady in his exclusive office at Gillette Stadium."
Brady and Belichick have declined to comment on the situation in recent radio interviews.
Here’s some insight into the possible reason for Belichick’s change of heart:
"The Globe reported in 2015 that the Patriots medical and training staffs had lodged complaints with Belichick about Guerrero’s expanding role with the team. Their concerns involved Guerrero’s alternative treatment practices often clashing with their own methods as well as his questionable background. Before Brady made him his business partner, Guerrero had been sanctioned by federal regulators for falsely presenting himself as a medical doctor and deceptively promoting nutritional supplements, according to government records."
Rob Gronkowski is one Patriot who has taken on Guerrero as a trainer recently and has shown results, as he’s remained largely healthy this season after years of nagging injuries.
Here’s more on Guerrero’s developing status among New England’s players:
"By this season, however, TB12’s client list has grown to include most of the Patriots roster — a unique arrangement in the National Football League. With Guerrero effectively involved in the health and training practices of much of the team, it’s not unusual for him and the Patriots medical and training staff to differ, according to sources. Belichick famously dislikes distractions. He dislikes divisiveness, real or perceived, even more. Internal observers believe that restricting Guerrero’s operations in the stadium might reduce some tension in the workplace, where promoting player health and game readiness is considered a priority. Under the revised policy, many of Brady’s teammates who have been treated by Guerrero at Gillette are continuing to see him at the nearby TB12 Center. They can be shuttled there in a couple minutes or walk there in less than 10 minutes."
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Clearly Brady and many of his teammates trust Guerrero but Belichick is wary of his influence. There could finally be some trouble in paradise for the league’s most successful coach/quarterback duo.