Over a week ago, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a joint statement to suggest reports of disgruntlement among their ranks were “unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate.”
But ESPN’s bombshell report on the power struggle in New England was apparently substantiated, unexaggerated, and accurate enough, because Brady, Belichick, and Kraft have already planned a meeting designed to address tension between the three Patriots musketeers, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
“There is going to be a meeting after this season—whenever this season ends—between Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to clear the air and get through a lot of this tension that they’ve had to deal with this season,” Rapaport said on Saturday on NFL Network. “And there is tension from the Jimmy Garoppolo trade and to who wanted what to Tom Brady’s trainer and all of these issues they’ve battled through this year.”
The Patriots, Saturday victors over the Tennessee Titans to advance to the AFC Championship Game, traded prized backup quarterback Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers following Week 8 for nothing but a second-round pick—a move Belichick had reportedly pushed back on.
“But my understanding is this is expected to continue past this season,” Rapoport continued. “First there is Bill Belichick, under contract for several more years and Belichick came out and said he absolutely believes he’ll be the Patriots coach next year and from what I understand I don’t see any situation where Robert Kraft allows anything besides that. Then there is Tom Brady. Of course, he is also under contract, he is never getting traded from the Patriots he is going to retire there, so it’s really on these three guys to come together after the season, figure it out and move forward.”
However the three feel about each other, the meeting would certainly be way less awkward in the morning light of a sixth Super Bowl together.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 13, 2018