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- Multiple reports say ESPN plans to publish a story on Friday detailing a rift among New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft.
- One reporter says that the rift involves a “power struggle” over who deserves the most credit for the team’s dynasty and that some within the organization think this could be the trio’s last season together.
- There are conflicting reports about whether the article will say Brady demanded the team trade his heir apparent, Jimmy Garoppolo.
ESPN is set to publish a story detailing a rift brewing inside the New England Patriots involving their most prominent figures, according to multiple reports, and it could mean the end of the team’s dynasty.
UPDATE: The ESPN report has been published. Read more here: Bombshell report reveals a growing fracture between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots – and it stems from Alex Guerrero, Brady’s health guru.
Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch first reported that ESPN would publish the story on Friday and that it would detail a “power struggle” involving quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft.
“Source: ESPN readying new hit piece on Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft set to publish tomorrow morning at 8am,” Allen wrote on Twitter. “The topic will be a power struggle among the trio as to who deserves the most credit for the dynasty.”
According to Allen, the ESPN story will say the rift is “so severe many Patriots feel this is the last year together for the trio.” Allen also says the author is Seth Wickersham, the outlet’s veteran NFL writer.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirmed a story was coming from ESPN on a rift inside the Patriots organization.
“PFT has confirmed, as reported by Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch, that ESPN will publish a new story about the Patriots on Friday,” Florio wrote. “The focal point reportedly will be the relationship between quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft and, specifically, the existence of a rift among the three central figures in the 16-year run of unparalleled NFL success.”
Allen also reported that the ESPN story would say Brady went to Kraft to force Belichick to trade Brady’s heir apparent, Jimmy Garoppolo, who was dealt to the San Francisco 49ers before the trade deadline in October.
But according to Florio, the ESPN report will not say this.
“A source with knowledge of the ESPN report tells PFT that the ESPN report will not contend that Brady tried to force a trade,” Florio wrote.
Allen later published a portion of an internal ESPN memo prepping staffers on what to discuss on Friday.
“One key battle was over backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo,” the memo reads. “According to Seth’s reporting, Brady repeatedly met with Kraft to discuss playing into his mid-40s. Kraft eventually gave Belichick a mandate to trade Garoppolo. Belichick was furious; Brady was liberated. ‘He won,’ a Patriot staffer told Seth of Brady.”
This is not the first report of tension brewing between Brady and Belichick.
Last month, The Boston Globe reported that Belichick had revoked team access for Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, saying he could no longer be on the sidelines during games, fly on the team jet, or treat players other than Brady.