Speed Reads

The end of an era?

Will Bill Belichick walk away from the Patriots? ESPN is calling it a distinct possibility.

The New England Patriots could be in major trouble as tensions between quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft are apparently nearing a breaking point, ESPN reported Friday. The power trio have won five Super Bowls together.

In large part, the problems trace back to Brady's loyalty to his trainer, Alex Guerrero. The pair partnered on the "TB12 Method," with Brady alleging proper training can actually prevent injuries and aging. Others have called Brady's methods — which involve being so well hydrated that "even with adequate exposure to the sun, I won't get sunburned" and the use of a TB12 "vibrating sphere" — "snake oil."

Some Patriots players were confused about whether to seek training from Guerrero or the team doctors. TB12 felt "like a cult," one staffer recalled. "Belichick felt the need to permanently clarify Guerrero's role, drawing sharp boundaries," ESPN writes. "After the brief discussion with Brady, Belichick emailed Guerrero to let him know that while he was welcome to work with any players who sought out TB12, he was no longer permitted access to the sideline or all of the team headquarters because he wasn't an employee of the Patriots."

But the problems didn't end there. Brady is insistent that TB12 training will see him winning Super Bowls until the age of 45 — a feat unheard of for an NFL quarterback. Although the Patriots considered phasing in backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as a potential successor to Brady, Kraft eventually demanded Belichick trade him, putting the Patriots' future entirely on Brady.

"Is it possible that Belichick would rather walk away than try to rebuild the staff with a 41-year-old Brady and another year of Guerrero drama — all while trying to develop a new quarterback?" ESPN writes. "Belichick being Belichick, those around him know nothing of his plans." Read the full explosive story here.