Tom Brady has his reasons for skipping out on the first round of OTAs, but could those reasons ultimately hurt the team later down the line?
No Tom Brady, no problem for the New England Patriots.
The future Hall of Fame quarterback has opted to sit out the first round of organized team activities starting on Monday. His absence will undoubtedly prompt more stories of a sky falling and dynasty crumbling in Foxborough.
However, once mandatory minicamp rolls around in June, Brady will likely be back on the field throwing passes, while dodging questions of his brief excursion like an agent inside The Matrix. There are no real concerns of whether Brady will eventually report to the team.
The circulating problems for the Patriots have little to do with the 40-year-old legend missing a few voluntary practices and plenty to do with a turbulent 2017 season, where the team traded backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and lost a Super Bowl.
The sky may not be falling in Foxborough, but cracks are showing. A bombshell piece written by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham earlier this year painted a split of seismic proportions between the greatest quarterback and coaching duo in NFL history.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, a football mastermind with a cold heart in personnel decisions, was reportedly against the idea of trading Brady’s heir apparent. However, making a case to owner Robert Kraft to move on from Brady before Garoppolo was always going to be a daunting task.
Brady, who is hellbent on playing until age 45, reportedly wasn’t receptive of the idea of Garoppolo sticking around, and he fought to get him traded.
Behind that efficacious smile lies a cutthroat competitor that walks in the same light of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali. There had never been a backup behind Brady as talented as Garoppolo—just a long list of replacement players like Brian Hoyer, Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallett.
Additionally, Belichick threw his quarterback under the bus during the whole Deflategate fiasco three years ago when he deflected questions from reporters to Brady. There was also the incident where Brady’s trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero was stripped of his team credentials last season. To top it all off, Belichick’s decision to bench cornerback Malcolm Butler might have cost the Patriots a Super Bowl on a night where Brady was putting up historic numbers on a top-ranked Philadelphia Eagles defense.
But none of that will affect the ultimate outcome for a team that always finds a way to win. Brady will return in time to familiarize himself with his new and old teammates, while secretly plotting to make Belichick eat crow for even considering starting Garoppolo in the first place.
The right kind of frenenemy is capable of making the best out of any bad situation. Considering the Patriots haven’t missed an AFC Championship Game since 2010, it should be business as usual for this quarterback and head coach.