Reimer: Brady and Gronk show solidarity with Alex Guerrero in absences from Patriots practice

Alex Reimer
May 22, 2018 - 4:30 pm

Tom Brady may have lost some of his conviction to play football. It certainly appears as if Rob Gronkowski wants more money. But those don't look like the primary reasons why the Patriots’ two best players continue to shun all team activities. 

Alex Guerrero remains at the center of the discord in Foxboro. Brady considers Guerrero to be his closest confidante, and has convinced Gronkowski to adopt the TB12 Method. Bill Belichick, meanwhile, banished Guerrero and his massage table from the locker room.  

With Guerrero no longer allowed unfettered access to the team, Brady and Gronkowski are absent from OTAs. The Herald’s Karen Guregian reports the pair went for their usual treatments at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center on Monday and were expected to do the same on Tuesday. The Patriots, of course, are practicing steps away on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium. 

WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” refute Guregian’s story, reporting Brady has actually been out of town. Regardless, Brady isn’t with the Patriots for the third phase of OTAs. This is the latest slight in a pattern of unusual behavior from Brady, who used to talk incessantly about the importance of unpadded spring practice, as WEEI’s Ryan Hannable wisely notes

Brady’s seeming disenchantment with Belichick’s rigid ways can be traced back to his reported longstanding rift with Guerrero. As of last year, Guerrero’s converts to the Church of TB12 grew to include most of the Patriots’ roster, per Bob Hohler of the Globe. Guerrero reportedly gave these players conflicting medical advice and even advised them to ignore the Patriots’ training staff. 

At some point last season, Belichick curtailed Guerrero’s access. Brady’s guru and business partner was banned from the sidelines and team plane. 

On top of it all, Seth Wickersham’s bombshell story contains several anti-Brady team sources, include an unnamed staffer who highlights the quarterback’s “increased fragility” –– directly contradicting Brady’s claims of perfect health and stamina.

Gronkowski has also reportedly clashed with Belichick about Guerrero. Last summer, Gronk’s disagreement with the Patriots’ training regimen almost pushed him to retirement, per NBC Sports’ Tom Curran.

“(Gronkowski) seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp,” Curran said in March on NBCSN. “He had kind of had it. At that point his body wasn't responding. He wanted to train a certain way. The team didn't necessarily want him to train the way he wanted to train. They were at loggerheads. He was pissed."

Early in the 2017 season, Belichick chastised Gronkowski for being a TB12 client, according to Guregian. One Patriots reporter, the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels, claims the team tried to stop him from writing a story about Gronkowski’s work at TB12 prior to the AFC championship.

In the article, Gronk, who’s undergone nine surgeries since 2009, praises Guerrero’s program. 

Months ago, Patriots owner Robert Kraft confirmed he held a meeting between himself, Brady and Belichick after the Super Bowl. While Kraft was able to orchestrate the end of the 2011 NFL Lockout, it doesn’t seem as if he was able to broker peace between his Hall of Fame quarterback and head coach. The relationship between the two all-time greats seems icier than ever. 

“I am not going to talk about the people who aren’t here,” Belichick told reporters Tuesday when asked about Brady’s whereabouts. 

President Trump talks about his wife “Melanie” with more affection.

Brady, for his part, threw in an apparent dig at Belichick last month at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California –– of all places. 

“I plead the fifth,” Brady said when moderator Jim Gray asked whether he feels appreciated at work.

Gisele Bundchen first talked about her husband’s seeming discontent with the environment around Gillette during the final episode of “Tom vs. Time.” The Facebook series featured numerous shots of Guerrero working on Brady, including one session that notably took place in a luxury suit at the stadium, instead of the Patriots’ locker room.

Brady credits Guerrero for his historic excellence. Without Guerrero, Brady doesn’t feel like he would still be this good, and thus, Belichick wouldn’t have as many Super Bowls, AFC championship appearances or wins on his resume. 

And now, Guerrero has been ostracized. He’s not around Gillette Stadium, and neither are Brady nor Gronkowski. 

It's a strong showing of solidarity.