With Tom Brady, some topics remain out of bounds
FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick has Malcolm Butler.
Tom Brady has Alex Guerrero.
They are Third Rail Topics in Fort Foxborough. They are Those Who Must Not Be Named.
We are not going to get an answer. In either case.
I took a run at the Alex topic with Brady Friday afternoon. Tom was ever-polite but thoroughly obtuse regarding his satisfaction with how Belichick and the Patriots are handling the Guerrero situation.
If you just parachuted in from Guam and need some background, here goes:
Alex Guerrero is Brady’s nefarious trainer, the genius of TB12. He is the god of pliability, the deep threat of deep-tissue massage. Brady would leap off the Cliffs of Moher if Alex told him it was a good idea.
Blue Meanie Belichick has little use for Guerrero, who, among other infractions, has posed as a doctor (he is not) and been shut down by the feds for selling concussion cure juice and greens that will cure cancer.
Guerrero is not a Patriot staffer, and the Hoodie last year kicked him off the team plane, out of the team hotel, and banished him from the sideline. During this preseason, we saw Guerrero back on the plane and in the locker room. Neither Brady nor Belichick will talk about it. Late in the summer, Brady abruptly ended a couple of interviews when the Guerrero topic was raised. Clearly, the Guerrero situation explains much of Tom’s self-documented angst regarding his happiness and future in Foxborough.
On Friday afternoon — Tom’s first Patriot media availability in two weeks — I gave it another shot.
Me: “You’ve talked to us a lot about Alex over the years and what he means to you. In this spirit, has there been any change in his availability to you on road trips and game days, and are you satisfied with the current arrangement?’’
Tom: “Alex and I, I mean, we work together. I don’t want to bring on any drama this year. You know, I’m just focused on what I want to do and be a great football player for this team, try to be a good example in the locker room and provide great leadership.
“That’s where my focus is. I know we want to oftentimes talk about a lot of other things, but I just really want to stick to football and, like I said, try to really focus on being the best I can be for this team.’’
Me: “But the way it’s set up now, does it work for you?”
Me: “The arrangement that he [Guerrero] has here?’’
Tom: “I mean, I’m always, I’m a pretty mentally tough guy, so I deal with a lot of circumstances over a long period of time — 18, 19 years — and I’m excited for the season. I’m really excited for where we’re at, where we’re going, what we got to do.
“There’s a lot of challenges we’re going to face. I want to feel good. I want to be the best quarterback I can be, and that’s a big commitment, daily effort.’’
In other words, no, he is not happy with the arrangement. He is telling us that he wants to feel good and that his coach is making it more difficult than it needs to be.
Brady made news all summer, even when he skipped OTAs for the first time in eight years, electing to travel abroad with his family while his teammates were sweating it out at Gillette. He told Oprah he’d be retiring “sooner rather than later,’’ but said on his latest “Tom vs. Time” video that he still wants to play five more years.
After returning to Gillette for the start of official practice in late July, Brady had a couple of uncharacteristically snippy moments with the local media. He abruptly ended a training camp presser when the Globe’s Ben Volin asked him about folks who might connect Julian Edelman’s PED suspension to Guerrero (Edelman is a Guerrero client). On Aug. 27, during his weekly morning appearance on WEEI, Brady hung up when hosts pressed him regarding Guerrero’s access.
Brady has been appearing weekly (during the season) on WEEI’s morning show since 2002. When I asked him if he planned to continue the gig, he said, “I don’t know,’’ then added, “Yeah, not sure. I think so.’’
When another reporter tried to get him to talk about Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign, the Patriot quarterback said, “I really want to focus on football. I know, hot topics and my reaction to a lot of hot topics and so forth, but getting ready for the Texans. They’re a great team. That’s where my focus is.”
It has been a weird offseason for Brady and everyone involved with the Patriots. In the recently released epilogue to “Tom vs. Time,” Brady sounded chill about about the outside noise, saying, “I’m learning to deal with it better. I don’t still give a [expletive] that much anymore about anything.
“Maybe I’m just caring about things that really matter, like my family, like people’s health, like life and death. To worry about a lot of [expletive] that people may say or think or feel, I really don’t care at all.’’
That’s what he sounded like Friday.
Like a guy who’s trying to stick to football on the eve of his 19th NFL season.