Whenever Tom Brady is speaking to Jim Gray, it feels like a must-listen. Well, Brady spoke to Gray earlier this week in front of a live audience at the Milken Institute, and stole the spotlight from the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics playoff runs for just a moment.
Why? Because Brady continued his strange offseason with a cryptic tone, praising Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization, while, at the same time, letting it be known that he doesn’t really feel appreciated by them. Brady provided ammo for people who want to criticize him, and he provided ammo for people who want to support him. But there’s no denying, it’s a bizarre concept to even have to think about what side of the Brady “fence” that you’re on.
I never thought we’d be here. Not with him.
We all know that in professional sports, it’s very rare for a marriage between a player and an organization to end perfectly. I always use the Joe Montana analogy. If Montana can play for the Kansas City Chiefs, anything can happen. Right now, Brady is still a Patriot. But his tone this offseason has just been downright bizarre.
On Monday night, Gray asked him, “Do you feel appreciated by [Belichick and Robert Kraft], and do they have the appropriate gratitude for what you have achieved?” Ok, hold up, hold up, hold up. Before I go any further, there’s no denying that Brady wanted him to ask this specific question, right? Like, Brady wrote this question down on a piece of paper before the interview and said, “Jim, whatever you do, make sure you bring this up.” That’s basically how it went down, no?
Anyways, Brady answered the question by joking, “I plead the Fifth.” As in, the Fifth Amendment, which protects one from any form of self-incrimination. Again, it was a joke, kind of. Brady gave an awkward laugh, paused for a moment, and then continued, “Man, that is a tough question.” No, it’s not. Especially if you still function under The Patriot Way.
In Foxboro, are there ever any “tough” questions from the media? Not when you practice the art of general response. The Patriots have a way with words when talking to the media. But it’s on purpose. They never reveal too much information. Most of the time, it comes off as disingenuous, because, well, it is. They’re always “on to the next game” and every opponent they face is “going to be a challenge.” So when asked if he feels “appreciated” by the Patriots, under the laws and regulations of The Patriot Way, the response would be simple:
“Who wouldn’t feel appreciated in an organization that values winning championships and trusts you to be the guy to quarterback those championship teams?” Would that have been a tough thing to say? Not at all. But again, that’s if Brady was abiding by The Patriot Way during the interview. And he clearly wasn’t. Because if he was, that’s not really a tough question to answer.
Then, Gray asked Brady, “Are you happy?” To which, Brady responded, “Uh, I have my moments.”
What was this, a therapy session? Holy moly. How bad does Brady really have it? The greatest NFL quarterback of all time who’s married to a super model just “has his moments” of happiness? What planet am I on? Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that this is really mostly about Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero. I think it’s fair to say that if Brady had it his way, he’d hire Guerrero to the Patriots’ training staff, and his teammates would all follow the TB12 method. I think it’s also fair to say that Belichick feels the complete opposite.
So, because of that, there’s a disconnect. This isn’t breaking news. It’s well known. I just didn’t think it would continue to create such a major rift. I expect the two to compromise. And to me, if Belichick wanted to completely lay down the hammer on Brady, he would force Brady to work with the Patriots’ team training staff during the season, instead of Guerrero.
Last time I checked, Belichick hasn’t told Brady that he can’t use Guerrero. But he had to tell him he can’t use Guerrero inside the team’s training room because, as we’re seeing now, other Patriots players also want to use Guerrero, or at least, Brady has convinced some of his teammates that their way — Brady and Guerrero’s way — is the best way. I can absolutely understand why the coach of the team would think that’s an issue. Apparently, when he’s not having one of his “moments” of happiness, Brady can’t understand that.
So, he’s using a forum with Gray to express his unhappiness, all while praising the same people he’s expressing his displeasure with. It was a bizarre interview. But unfortunately, bizarre has been the norm for Brady this offseason.