Reimer: Easy to see why Bill Belichick would want to restrict Alex Guerrero's access to Patriots

Alex Reimer
December 20, 2017 - 12:20 pm

Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports

It’s unlikely Bill Belichick or Tom Brady will ever expound on the reported friction between Belichick and Brady’s close associate, Alex Guerrero. They both demurred when the topic was broached during their respective interviews on WEEI this week, and Belichick curtly shot down questions about the matter Wednesday. 

While inquiring minds would love to know the exact details of the apparent rift, it's not difficult to follow this episode of Patriots palace intrigue. The probable reasons for Guerrero’s reportedly curbed privileges have been outlined numerous times over the last couple of years.

The first significant hint of trouble came in December 2015, when the Boston Globe exposed the Patriots’ unusual business ties with Brady and Guerrero’s TB12 Sports Therapy Center at Patriots Place. At the time, the Patriots would pay Guerrero and his team to provide treatment for their players. When the team’s medical and training staff complained about the arrangement, Belichick reportedly said, “Tom wants (Guerrero). What am I supposed to do?”

Even the Patriots make exceptions for star players. At Brady’s behest, they gave Guerrero his own private room at Gillette Stadium, sideline credentials to games and permission to travel on the team’s chartered jets. Belichick, the ultimate control freak, allowed a rogue trainer to operate alongside the Patriots’ staff. It was an unique arrangement. 

This season, there have been subtle signs of discord. When Belichick was asked an innocuous question in September about whether he would read Brady’s best-seller, the “TB12 Method,” he dismissed it outright. 

“We see Tom every day. I don’t think I need to read his book,” Belichick replied

It’s true Belichick rarely entertains breezy banter at press conferences. But the harsh tone in which he struck down a harmless question was striking.

The whispers about Belichick’s rumored disproval of Guerrero accelerated in early November, when ESPN the Magazine’s Seth Wickersham published a piece about Brady’s future with the Patriots. In it, a source close to Belichick is quoted as predicting an incoming "collision" regarding Guerrero’s meddling with the Patriots’ training staff.

“Brady has found himself in the middle of a conflict between the Patriots and Guerrero, with Guerrero blaming the team's trainers for injuries some of his clients have suffered and with Belichick making it resoundingly clear that Guerrero has no actual role on his staff,” the article reads. 

The anecdote about Guerrero blaming New England’s trainers for his clients’ injuries is not surprising. It echoes the haughty tone Guerrero takes in a Men’s Journal feature story, in which he besmirches medical professionals, saying they don’t care about their patients’ recoveries. 

“It’s completely understandable that your surgeon’s number one goal is to protect his surgery site,” Guerrero explained to the writer, who was recovering from a fractured heal bone. “He doesn’t care if you ever run again. He doesn’t care if you want to climb Mount Everest. But here’s the thing about rest: It makes you feel better, but it doesn’t make you get better.”

It doesn't seem like somebody who holds those viewpoints could function cohesively with other trainers who may not ascribe to his unorthodox, and sometimes debunked, wellness theories.

When Guerrero was no longer spotted on the Patriots’ sideline, speculation about his status with the team increased again. Adam Schefter on “Kirk & Callahan” last week added he’s heard rumors of a rift between Belichick and Guerrero as well.

The Globe’s Bob Hohler confirmed all of that hearsay Tuesday, reporting Belichick has restricted Guerrero’s access to the team this season, barring him from the chartered jet and sidelines. Guerrero is also no longer permitted to work on players besides Brady from his Gillette Stadium office. 

It seems as if Brady and Guerrero began actively recruiting players to train at TB12. In addition to Rob Gronkowski, Dont’a Hightower and Julian Edelman –– the latter two are on IR, by the way –– Hohler reports the clinic’s client list now includes “most of the Patriots roster.”

As the article mentions, Belichick disdains distractions and internal strife. Guerrero, who has had several run-ins with the Federal Trade Commission, openly clashed with team trainers and medical personnel. Belichick probably wanted to curb Guerrero's ever-growing presence. 

Given Tom Brady’s MVP-caliber season, this issue doesn’t seem like it will hold the Patriots back. But there’s little doubting its legitimacy. 

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