BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady had obligations to serve as a Best Buddies Global Ambassador in Qatar over the weekend, which provided him with an excused absence of sorts from the team’s start to the offseason training program. But as it turns out, once Brady returns from the Middle East, he won’t be in a rush to get to Foxboro.
Brady likely won’t “be a regular participant” in the Patriots’ offseason training program, according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington.
Darlington said on SportsCenter that he “would call it unlikely at this point that [Brady] is a part of any of the voluntary program this offseason.”
When asked for the reason behind Brady’s absence, Darlington said it’s twofold.
“Let’s start with number one, family. He made it very clear in his Tom Vs. Time documentary — he told Gotham Chopra the producer of that — that he will be devoting this offseason to family. … He was very serious about that,” Darlington said. “He also will be working more with his body coach, Alex Guerrero, a very controversial figure in this whole thing because he’s not allowed at Gillette Stadium, per Bill Belichick’s rules. So now Brady wants to spend his time working with Guerrero. Certainly there is some lingering frustration here with the organization, but I would definitely point to number one and number two as the very clear reasons why Brady won’t be a part of this program.”
As Darlington noted, Brady has missed parts of the program before. But considering the backdrop of the past six months, which has produced reports of a growing level of conflict between Brady and the team in terms of training methods, it’s a bit more notable this time around.
Guerrero, who’s Brady’s trainer and business partner, was of course stripped of much of his access to Gillette Stadium last year. Rob Gronkowski, also a player who’s worked with Guerrero, also reportedly butted heads with the team on training methods; he too will not be present at the start of the program.
Brady will turn 41 in August. Coming off an MVP season, he seems capable of putting together another comparable season. But the team and the quarterback still seem to have quite a bit of work to do in bridging some gaps in philosophy when it comes to training.
When speaking to the media on Friday, head coach Bill Belichick downplayed the significance of any absences from the voluntary offseason program.
“We have the voluntary offseason program that starts on Monday,” Belichick said. “It will be heavily attended, but I know there are a couple players that I’ve talked to that have other commitments, but that’s the way it always is, too. So, not really anything new there.”