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How much of a concern is this Alex Guerrero/Bill Belichick rift for the Patriots?

(Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

So, Boston Globe reporter Bob Hohler came out with a report confirming what I said last week on the Felger & Mazz show on 98.5 The SportsHub: Alex Guerrero, Tom Brady's training guru, has largely been banned from the stadium and the Patriots' sidelines by Bill Belichick.

Why did this happen? How big of a problem is it? What else have I learned?

Let's go through the situation:

  • Over the last few years, Guerrero's influence has grown inside the Patriots' locker room, as he now treats about 20 Patriots players.
  • As that influence increased, Guerrero became more emboldened in the advice he dispensed, and more adamant that when his instructions conflicted with that of the Patriots' strength, training and medical staffs, the players were to follow his directives. This greatly agitated the Patriots' staff.
  • One example: a Patriots starter was told by Guerrero not to do squats. When the strength staff made that part of the player's normal in-season workout, the player refused to do the exercise. That only added to the tension between the Patriots and Guerrero.
  • In the early stages of the season, Belichick professionally informed Guerrero that the team wanted to keep everyone on the same page for the betterment of the franchise. Guerrero told a different account to many of his clients — one that painted Belichick in a poor light — which further damaged the relationship, perhaps to the point that it can't be repaired.
  • With Brady as his top client, and with a business relationship with the Kraft family, Guerrero was largely allowed to do what he wanted. Consequently, Belichick was helpless when it came to dealing with Guerrero. It became more of an issue when his clientele went from a handful of Patriots players to nearly half of the roster.
  • Guerrero is still allowed to treat Brady in the Patriots' facility in a private room, but his appearance in other parts of the building is an intentional irritant to Belichick. Guerrero has traveled to the team's locations to treat Brady on the quarterback's dime.
  • The situation has absolutely become a source of friction between Brady and Belichick. But unless Brady forces the issue and demands Guerrero's reinstatement, no one believes it will affect the team on the field.
  • But that hasn't stopped some behind the scenes at Gillette from referring to Guerrero as "Yoko Guerrero," in reference to Yoko Ono, the wife of John Lennon who some believe caused the breakup of The Beatles.
  • There was an attempt to bring the three parties — Belichick, Brady and Robert Kraft — together to put the issue to bed prior to the game in Miami, but it didn't happen. It's not known whether another attempt will be made.
  • Two sources said they believe the current arrangement is permanent. Belichick doesn't want to irritate his staff further by giving in on Guerrero. Brady is steadfast in his belief in and support of Guerrero. Kraft is basically trying to remain Switzerland between his Hall of Fame coach, and the franchise player he adores.

The bottom line is, unless there is a major development, this should not cause any harm to the Patriots' season — just as it hasn't to this point. Despite the fact that there's a lot of angst sparked by Guerrero's actions, mostly everyone has remained professional and been able to compartmentalize team and personal business. But those close to the situation think the situation will come to a head — good or bad — in the coming offseason, as Brady begins preparations for his 19th season at the age of 41.

If this offseason also coincides with an exit by Josh McDaniels for a head coaching job, then Brady could make the Guerrero situation — if it continues — reach a critical mass. Those are a lot of comfort issues to deal with at one time, especially in the later stages of a career when, in theory, things should be made easier for a player of Brady's stature.

 

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