FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick would neither confirm nor deny a Globe report stating he has limited the access of Alex Guerrero, Tom Brady’s personal fitness guru, this season.
“Look, we have a lot of people that work for our team outside the team,’’ the coach said, when asked if Guerrero’s access has been limited. “And, there’s different relationships, different situations, but [there’s] dozens of other people. So, I’m not going to go through it case by case of what everybody does and so forth.
“That would be impossible to do, so I’m not going to do it.’’
When asked specifically about the Globe report, which stated that Guerrero, Brady’s partner at TB12, is no longer allowed on the team charter, on the Patriots sideline, and is prohibited from working with players other than Brady inside Gillette Stadium, the coach declined to engage.
“This is another story with no sources, right? Not going to get into that,’’ he said. “Yeah, because there are [no sources] mentioned.’’
The Globe story cites unnamed sources who are “people familiar with the Patriots’ internal operations.’’
Earlier in the week, Belichick was asked about his working relationship with Brady and said, “every year is different.” On Friday, he expanded on that answer.
“Just different teams, different players. I mean, he’s great to work with, nobody’s better prepared than Tom, obviously,’’ said Belichick, who was seen chatting with his quarterback during the media portion of Thursday’s practice. “[He’s] always ready to go, always on top of it. He really takes coaching well [and] he’s got a lot of good ideas. But each year is different. Our team is different, our players are different, our opponent is different. So . . . every week is different.’’
Burkhead out; Gillislee in?
With Rex Burkhead out this week as he rehabs a knee sprain suffered against the Steelers, Mike Gillislee figures to be back in the tailback mix for Sunday’s game against the Bills, his former team.
Gillislee, who has been a scratch the last six games after rushing for 355 yards and four touchdowns over the first eight weeks, is looking forward to another opportunity.
“Yeah, it’s always great to go out and play the game I love, football, so I’m excited to be able to dress and be out there with my team,’’ said Gillislee, who said he has no idea if he’s part of the game plan. “That part is a coach’s decision, so we’ll have to see.”
Though he was a healthy scratch against the Bills in Week 13, Gillislee did have a hand in New England’s 23-3 victory. He played the role of Buffalo back LeSean McCoy for the scout team that week and was recognized as a practice player of the week for his efforts.
“I don’t know how that got out but, yeah, you know, I work hard whether it’s scout team or just executing whatever occasion that I get I just try my best to make the play work.’’
Gillislee served as McCoy’s understudy in Buffalo and the two stay in touch.
“I still talk to Shady from here and there,’’ he said. But it [isn’t] about football [it’s] about other stuff . . . He’s always been a role model and a leader for me every since I got the opportunity to get pulled up from practice squad maybe like three years ago. He’s always been a role model to me.’’
Branch will not play
In addition to Burkhead, defensive tackle Alan Branch also was declared out for Sunday. Branch tweaked his knee against the Dolphins Dec. 11 and hasn’t been played since.
The Patriots had eight players, including receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder), running back James White (ankle), and linebacker Kyle Van Noy (calf) limited at Friday’s session. Those three and five others are questionable to face the Bills.
Hogan declined to speak with reporters when approached in the locker room following practice.
Also limited and questionable are special teamers Matthew Slater (hamstring), Brandon Bolden (groin), and Brandon King (hamstring); defensive lineman Eric Lee (ankle); and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle (ankle).
Notable Bills who are questionable include receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee), tight end Nick O’Leary (back), and nose tackle Kyle Williams (groin).
Second-year cornerback Cyrus Jones, who tore his ACL in the preseason finale against the Giants, was spotted in the locker room for the first time since he was injured. He was moving without a noticeable limp . . . A victory Sunday would give the Patriots their eight straight season with at least 12 wins, breaking a tie they share with the Colts (2003-09) . . . The Patriots are looking to sweep the Bills for the 25th time and the 13th time under Belichick’s stewardship . . . New England leads the series, 71-43-1 and has won 30 of the last 35 matchups. The Patriots are 13-2 against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium . . . Don’t be surprised (well, be a little surprised) if you see Belichick wandering the mall late night as the coach revealed Friday morning that he’s “not even close” to finishing his holiday shopping. “Gotta get started,’’ he said with a smile.