Had the New England Patriots been willing to meet some of Tom Brady’s demands, perhaps the legendary quarterback would have ended his NFL career with the organization.
Already, Brady has seen his football life-New England look like his time there: winning. In his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady won his seventh Super Bowl.
on Sunday, he return to new england for the first time and to face his former coach Bill Belichick. It’s expected to be a warm homecoming, but some people will be left puzzled by the end of the night:
Why is Tom Brady no longer with the Patriots?
Brady wanted fair contracts (more money), more input
With his contract expiring after the 2019 season, Brady showed up at training camp ready to make a deal to keep him in New England for the rest of his career, Seth Wickersham in his upcoming book . told in, “It is better to be afraid.” Brady, who turned 42 that month, felt he had earned the right to a contract that would lead him to age 45. Owner Robert Kraft was a proponent of keeping Brady happy.
The talks became controversial, Wickersham reports, with an extension deadline that month. The Patriots eventually announced a two-year extension — but those years would be void when the 2019 league year was completed, and the team would not be able to place the franchise tag on the quarterback.
Brady’s home in Brookline, Massachusetts, then went up for sale. He quelled doubts at the time, but it proved to be one of the first steps in his departure.
Wickersham wrote in his book, “Brady was tired of team-friendly deals with no input on how the money saved was spent – and still wanted a long-term contractual commitment.”
The quarterback also wanted more input on personnel decisions. Belichick pushed back on him and lamented what he thought was a Kraft-Brady alliance.
Belichick told colleagues that now every organizational decision was in support of Brady, designed to please and make him successful — and that Kraft worked closely with the team, sometimes with opinionated, sometimes restrictive budgets. interfered with,” writes Wickersham.
The Buccaneers signed Brady to a two-year, $50 million contract and extended him another year until 2022. Brady regularly made team-friendly deals so that Belichick could spend to meet the needs on the Patriots roster.
Brady-Belichick relationship deteriorated
In addition to contracts and money, and despite their personality differences, Brady and Belichick found common ground through their work ethic and ambition, Wickersham said on the “ESPN Daily” podcast about his book.
Per Wickersham, Brady’s thinking shifted to his off-field actions after the Patriots’ Super Bowl 51 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Brady recently told the Wall Street Journal “I feel like I’m living two lives” – his current football life, and the post-football life he has already built.
“Hey, we’ve made history now, I can go out of my own business and promote my own business… I can have a camera crew for ‘Tom vs. Time’ (documentary) is,” Wickersham described the vision of the future Hall of Famer.
Wickersham cited the 2017 loss against the Houston Texans, after which Belichick crushed Brady during a filming session in front of the team and other coaches made his performance worse.
Brady, Wickersham said on the podcast, “is a tireless positive thinker and positive speaker. There was always going to be an inherent rubbish in Bill Belichick.” Belichick, though also an optimist, had a process that focused on the negative in every situation. Used to do
Then there was friction over Brady’s “fitness guru” and friend. alex guerrero, who mentored the renowned “TB12 Method”, which runs the quarterback’s renowned wellness company and lifestyle. Belichick explicitly banned him from the team’s plane; According to Wickersham, Guerrero has his own office in Tampa Bay.
Belichick too appeared to question Brady’s toughness Following a comeback victory in the 2017 AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Brady suffered a cut in his arm during practice that week.
“Tom did a great job and he’s a tough guy. We all know that, right?” Belichick responded when asked if the injury affected the game plan. “But we’re not talking open heart surgery here.”
Never mind: The Patriots win the Super Bowl. However the damage was done. Brady told people close to him that he no longer wanted to play for Belichick, according to Wickersham.
Brady wanted to try things away from New England
During an April 2020 interview on “The Howard Stern Show” (Sirius XM) — The two-hour affair with the legendary talk radio host, his first widely public comment since he signed on in Tampa Bay — Brady was open and revealing when asked about his legacy involving Belichick.
“I think it’s a really beautiful (outrageous) argument that people would say that. Because, again, I can’t do his job and he can’t do mine,” he told Stern. “The fact that you can say, ‘Would I have been as successful without him, with the same level of success?’ I don’t think I would be, but I feel the same way on the contrary.
“He let me be the best I could be. So I’m grateful for that, and I very much believe he feels the same way about me because we’ve expressed it to each other.”
Stern asked: “But Tom, isn’t there some resentment on your part, that he didn’t make you a patriot for the rest of your life?”
“No, not at all,” Brady replied. “Because it’s a part of my life to experience something different.”
How it ended: A tearful goodbye
As the coronavirus pandemic precautions went into effect in mid-March 2020, Brady texted Kraft to arrange a socially distancing meeting.
Wickersham said that Kraft has done its best to keep all three together. He was aware of Brady’s dwindling patience and offered olive branches to the quarterback.
“We’re not going to continue together,” Brady told Kraft. According to Wickersham, both the men started crying.
Brady also wanted to meet Belichick, who said he was not available. This week the coach denied that he did not want to meet in person. During a phone call that night, Belichick lavished praise, Wickersham reported. Brady said their relationship is in good shape this week.
“They were no longer overlords and star employees, but two employees who together achieved something unprecedented that was coming to an end,” Wickersham said.
In Tampa Bay it was for Brady. So far, so good – for that.
Follow Chris Bambaka on Twitter @BOOMbaca.