By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots may be coming off a trip to the Super Bowl, but things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows in Foxboro. What’s been speculated and discussed for some time is now being put on the record, somewhat, by a local Patriots reporter.
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Mike Giardi, the Patriots’ two best players — Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski — are being made “miserable” by Bill Belichick.
It’s not an altogether shocking report, as discussion of unrest in Foxboro has taken place since Seth Wickersham’s ESPN story went live in early January. Gronkowski’s contemplation of retirement for a career in wrestling or acting ignited it quite a bit, with Tom E. Curran reporting that Gronkowski felt like leaving the sport back in training camp. There’s also been all of those cryptic (and in some cases, direct) messages on social media. Meanwhile Gisele Bundchen said plainly at the end of “Tom Vs. Time” that her husband just wants to “feel appreciated and have fun” when going to work.
What seems to be at the epicenter of the players’ problems with the head coach is Alex Guerrero. Again using “Tom Vs. Time,” the fifth episode of the docuseries showed Brady and Guerrero scrambling to make do for their pregame massage in a suite with giant glass windows after Guerrero had been banned from using training areas inside Gillette Stadium. That scene — minus the scrambling — was recreated again in episode six, with Brady and Guerrero crammed in a tight space prior to the Patriots’ playoff game against the Titans. The inclusion of these scenes, particularly the effort to block windows with chairs in episode five, seemed to be Brady expressing how absurd the matter has gotten without having to state it with his words.
Nevertheless, nobody has reported that the issues are beyond repair. It does, however, seem as though someone’s going to have to initiate some sort of meeting where all sides can hash out their differences. That may not be part of Belichick’s normal repertoire, but Brady and Gronkowski are not normal players. A squabble over some training methods shouldn’t be enough to bring down the most successful franchise of the past 20 years.