By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s the second week of April, but stories continue to trickle out of Foxboro regarding the state of unrest among some of the most important people in the Patriots franchise.
Though this one does not involve Tom Brady, it does involve his personal trainer and business partner, Alex Guerrero. With several Patriots players choosing to work with Guerrero for training and recovery, his involvement with the team has reportedly become an issue for head coach Bill Belichick. And a new morsel of information from the Boston Herald lends credence to those prior reports.
According to Karen Guregian, Belichick “chastised Gronk in front of the players for being a TB12 client.” As Guregian explained, “maybe that was Belichick’s not-so-subtle way of trying to keep everyone from jumping ship on the team’s training staff.”
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran added to the report, noting that the comment made took place during training camp, when Gronkowski was not performing well.
Previously, Curran reported that Gronkowski had been getting worn down by the “atmosphere” in New England, and that he “seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp.” This most recent report would appear to connect a few dots in that initial story.
Of course, it is a bit of a delicate situation for Belichick and the Patriots. The team employs a staff of doctors and trainers, as well as a strength and conditioning staff. So if a large segment of the roster opts to explore other avenues for treatment and training, then it creates a bit of a problem. The fact that some of Guerrero’s suggested methods clash with many traditional approaches to training certainly doesn’t help matters.
It’s an issue that was carefully portrayed in an early episode of Tom Brady’s Facebook docu-series, “Tom Vs. Time.” While sitting around in a remote cabin in Montana, Julian Edelman was taking grief from Brady and Brady’s friend for lifting weights.
“I’ve been hearing this for [expletive] eight years,” an exasperated Edelman said to the camera. “Eight years. We’ve been in an argument for eight years.”
That, of course, was an argument among friends. It included Guerrero defending himself against some presumptions about him — “Listen, I’m not an anti-weight guy. Everyone thinks I’m anti-weights.” — and it included Brady himself suggesting that “weights with pliability are optimal.” Suffice it to say, nothing made the final cut for Brady’s documentary by accident, so this was a message that Brady wanted to broadcast regarding the approach of the TB12 Sports Therapy Center.
In the case of Gronkowski, he’s slimmed down a bit over the past year. He also had a nearly perfectly healthy season, playing in 17 games and putting forth a truly dominant performance in Super Bowl LII (nine receptions, 116 yards, 2 TDs). Gronkowski missed one game early in the season due to a thigh issue, and missed one game later in the year due to a suspension. Clearly, whatever training methods Gronkowski chose following his most recent back surgery in December 2016 did not prevent him from having a career year — one that ended in Gronkowski earning a spot on the All-Pro First Team as the best tight end in football.
It may be a good problem to have, but as stories of disagreements and public shaming continue to leak out, it nevertheless remains just that: a problem.