It came to light that there was some tension between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick ahead of the 2018 NFL playoffs. The Patriots’ quarterback and head coach were working through some issues along with owner Robert Kraft.
Nothing came of the story immediately. However, it did serve as the beginning of the end of Brady’s time with the Patriots, and part of the issue was related to one of his personal friends and trainers, Alex Guerrero.
Guerrero wasn’t employed by the Patriots, but he worked closely with Brady and had a presence within the organization. However, Belichick sought to minimize that presence in 2017 as some issues cropped up around his team, and that was a contributing factor to his fraying relationship with Brady.
What was the TB12-related drama that came to a head during the 2017 Patriots season? Here’s everything to know about Guerrero and why he and Belichick butted heads during that season.
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Who is Alex Guerrero?
Alex Guerrero is Brady’s “spiritual guide, counselor, pal, nutrition advisor, trainer, massage therapist and family member,” according to a story by The New York Times. He is the godfather of Brady’s son Ben.
Guerrero reportedly has a master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine from SAMRA University in Los Angeles. The school closed in 2010.
Guerrero now helps run TB12 with Brady. He has worked with a variety of professional athletes during his career, including LaDanian Tomlinson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and several members of the Patriots.
His career has not been without controversy. Guerrero is barred from being called a doctor by the The Federal Trade Commission. This came after he claimed a supplement called “Supreme Greens” could serve as an “effective treatment, cure and preventative for cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, and as a means of achieving substantial weight loss of up to 80 pounds in eight months,” per Boston Magazine. Supreme Greens is a blend of vegetables, herbs, vitamin-rich grasses and MSM.
What was the drama between Bill Belichick and Alex Guerrero?
The Belichick and Guerrero drama came to a head during the 2017 season. The coach stripped Guerrero of team privileges the Patriots had previously granted him.
This included the following, according to The Boston Globe:
Guerrero was never an employee of the Patriots, but he had served as a team consultant and was given “free rein” around the building, per ESPN. Nonetheless, this situation created some tension between Belichick and the TB12 tag-team of Brady and Guerrero.
Why did Bill Belichick strip Alex Guerrero’s team privileges?
Belichick’s decision to strip Guerrero’s team privileges was essentially part of a power struggle. Belichick wanted to “permanently clarify Guerrero’s role” and “draw sharp boundaries” around him, as ESPN detailed.
What led to that decision? According to the ESPN story, it had to do with mounting pressure to work with Guerrero to earn Brady’s trust.
New players felt the surest way to earn Brady’s trust was to join Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and others by seeking advice from Guerrero at his TB12 clinic — and not team doctors, which Belichick preferred. Guerrero says he wasn’t pressuring players to adopt his approach. “Players have always decided to come or not come on their own,” he says now. But according to multiple sources, players openly discussed with Patriots coaches, staff and trusted advisers whether to follow Brady or the team, leaving them trapped: Do we risk alienating the NFL’s most powerful coach or risk alienating the NFL’s most powerful quarterback?
Guerrero also began instructing certain players not to follow the advice of the Patriots’ medical team. That led to him becoming a powerful but “divisive force” in the Patriots’ building.
Belichick decided to nip that in the bud by revoking his access to the facility in an effort to “restore a measure of tradition to the team’s medical and training operation,” per The Boston Globe.
Belichick made it clear that Guerrero could still treat Patriots players that sought out the TB12 method; it just had to be at the TB12 facility.
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How did Tom Brady react to Bill Belichick’s decision?
Brady didn’t say much about Belichick’s decision until before the 2018 NFL season. He was asked about the situation with Guerrero in an interview with radio station WEEI. He hung up after then-host Kirk Minihane asked a few questions about Guerrero.
Brady had previously been asked about Guerrero, who had flown with the team and stayed at the Patriots’ hotel during the 2018 NFL preseason. The quarterback didn’t want to discuss the tension that came about in 2017.
“I don’t want to bring on any drama this year,” Brady said to reporters. “I’m just focused on what I want to do, be a great football player for this team. Try to be a good example in the locker room. Provide great leadership. That’s where my focus is. I know we want to often focus on a lot of other things, but I just want to stick to football and focus on being the best I can be for this team.”
Brady was also asked if he was happy with the arrangements the Patriots and Guerrero had ahead of the 2018 season. Apparently, all parties were happy with the plan.
“Yeah. I’m a pretty mentally tough guy,” Brady said. “I’ve dealt with a lot of circumstances over a long period of time — 18, 19 years. I’m excited for this season. I’m really excited where we’re at.”
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