FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady doesn’t want to answer questions about the rift between Bill Belichick and Alex Guerrero. And that’s fine. Speaking about it publicly does nothing to help the football team.
But he did need to face questions about the Globe’s report from this week. So did Belichick. It’s a big story, whether or not Patriots fans want to acknowledge it.
Belichick kicked Brady’s right-hand man off the team plane and off the sideline, and banned him from working on any player other than Brady inside Gillette Stadium. That’s not something that happens abruptly, especially to a player as highly regarded as Brady. Clearly, this has been building over time.
The report came out Tuesday night. Belichick and Brady finally faced questions about it Friday. Neither was especially happy about it.
Neither denied the report, either.
Belichick was Belichick. He borrowed a play from one of his political buddies and tried to discredit the report. All that was missing was a #fakenews hashtag.
“This is another one with no sources, right?” Belichick said. “Yep. I’m not going to get into that. Yeah, because there are none mentioned.”
Except the story is true, of course. Guerrero, who for the last few seasons stood on the sideline for Patriots road games, wasn’t on the sideline for any of the five road games over the last six weeks since the bye.
“Look, we have a lot of people that work for our team outside of the team, and there are different relationships, different situations with dozens of other people,” Belichick said. “I’m not going to go through a case by case of what everybody does and so forth. That would be impossible to do, and I’m not going to do it.”
So, a non-admission admission.
Later in the day, Brady grew testy when I asked him a fairly basic question: How did you react when Bill Belichick told you he was going to restrict Guerrero’s access?
“I don’t really agree with your question,” Brady said. “So I don’t know what you’re talking about. How do you know what he said?”
That prompted a natural follow-up: So are you saying the report about his access being restricted is false?
Brady cut me off before I finished.
“I’m not saying anything,” he snapped. “I mean, how do you say that he said anything? You don’t know anything about that.”
Again, the natural follow-up: So Bill never told you that he was removing Alex from the sideline or the team plane?
“Well, I have a lot of conversations with him,” Brady said. “Those are private between he and I, and I don’t think anyone knows what we talk about. Certainly I’ve never talked about it. He’s never talked about it.”
OK, he doesn’t want to talk about it. Fine. Just wanted to give Brady the opportunity to comment on the situation, and it’s his right if he doesn’t want to.
But there was one more question that had to be asked, and this actually is an important one for the Patriots:
Are you concerned that Alex Guerrero having so much influence over guys in the locker room could present a distraction with the team?
“I think you’d have to ask a lot of other people those things,” Brady said. “You know, I think everyone knows my relationship with Alex. I try to just do what works for me, and everyone needs to do what works for them. I don’t think it’s anything more complicated than that.
“I try to go out there, and the whole goal for me is to go out there and play and help the team win, and I’m going to do the best I can do to that. And that’s kind of what I’ve always done.”
That’s a long-winded way of saying, “no comment.” And again, that’s fine. Of course he’s not going to admit that Guerrero is a distraction.
But Belichick sure thinks he is. That’s the whole reason we’re here. Guerrero has been allowed to run amok inside Gillette Stadium, working on half the team and getting his own private room inside the stadium. The Krafts authorized it, and Belichick went along with it. Team sources estimate he currently is seeing 30 of the 53 players on the roster, and Guerrero’s alternative approaches often conflict with those from the Patriots’ well-regarded medical and training staffs.
We know what the Patriots are all about — One voice. Everyone on the same page. Do Your Job.
The medical and training staffs are part of the football team, too.
“The surprise isn’t that Brady’s personal fitness and nutrition guru had his sideline and team charter access limited,” Dr. David Chao, formerly the Chargers’ team physician from 1997-2013, wrote Friday. “The surprise is that he had those privileges in the first place. If anything, the team showed immense patience and allowed great access for a long time.”
Brady said he’s not too worried about what’s going on with Guerrero and the team.
“I don’t think about it,” he said. “I’ve got enough things to think about, so I’m going to go try and win an important game and do what I always do.”
Guerrero still can work on the Patriots players, just at his own facility, and on his time. Rob Gronkowski, a Guerrero convert this year, said Friday that he still sees Guerrero and “It’s good. It’s good stuff.”
Brady thinks so. Belichick apparently doesn’t. But neither of them want to talk about it.