ESPN reported Wednesday morning that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has yet to formally commit to playing football in 2018, despite those close to him believing he will return for the upcoming season.
Patriots’ QB Tom Brady still has not committed to playing in 2018, even though people who know him believe he will back coming season, league sources told ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 18, 2018
“It’s interesting because the Patriots are still awaiting official word from Tom Brady about his future,” Schefter said on ESPN on Wednesday. “But there’s no official word Tom Brady will be back for the 2018 season. He has not yet committed to playing. I think that the people around him and the people inside that organization think that he’ll play, but they don’t know that he will play — and that question lingers as the draft approaches next week.”
Schefter’s report is a bit of a mystery — there is no league requirement that players declare their intention to play. And while Brady was not present for the start of New England’s voluntary offseason workouts, there have been no reports projecting he will not attend OTAs or mandatory minicamp. It’s also not the first time Brady has missed part of the offseason program.
But speculation has run wild since the Globe reported a rift between coach Bill Belichick and Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, and an ESPN report detailing conflict among Belichick, Brady, and team owner Robert Kraft.
Brady, who turns 41 in August, has long insisted he plans to play until he’s 45 years old, repeatedly pushing back on his wife’s persistent requests that he retire. Ahead of Super Bowl LII, Brady said in a Westwood One radio interview he planned to continue playing in 2018 — regardless of the outcome of the game.
“You’re going to see me playing football next year,” he said. “I don’t envision not playing.’’
According to ESPN, Brady plans to spend more time with Guerrero during the offseason. Guerrero has become a controversial figure in the Patriots organization, and the Globe’s Bob Hohler reported in December that Belichick had stripped the trainer of many of his team privileges.
Per the Globe report, only Brady is permitted to visit Guerrero in his office at Gillette Stadium. Other players seeking his treatment must visit him at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center at Patriot Place. ESPN reported in January that Guerrero’s involvement with the Patriots is a major source of disagreement among Brady, Belichick, and Kraft.
Another one of Guerrero’s clients, Rob Gronkowski, has yet to offer any firm indication about his plans for this season, though recent reports indicate he, like Brady, is expected be back as well.