The New England Patriots have stripped Tom Brady's trainer of various team privileges, widening speculation of a rift between the trainer and coach Bill Belichick, according to a report in The Boston Globe.
The trainer, Alex Guerrero, is a close friend of Brady's as well as a business partner who helped launch the TB12 Center, where Brady and several other Patriots players have trained and received treatment since it opened in 2013.
According to the Globe, Guerrero, who has an office near the Patriots' locker room in Gillette Stadium, is no longer permitted to treat players other than Brady in the office. He also is reportedly banned from boarding Patriots jets and had his sideline access revoked.
Because of the new restrictions placed on Guerrero, several Patriots players are continuing to receive treatment from him at the TB12 Center, located just outside the stadium, according to the Globe.
Asked Monday about a possible rift between Guerrero and Belichick, Brady told WEEI, "I don't have any comment on that other than to say Alex, it's been well-documented, has been a huge part of what I do, and I'm so fortunate to have him not only as a friend, but with everything that we've been able to do together."
Brady also said Guerrero "has been a huge, huge reason why I'm still playing" at age 40.
Brady's connection to Guerrero is well-known. In an ESPN The Magazine feature in November, the quarterback credited Guerrero's "genius" for his recovery from a devastating 2008 knee injury and for helping him to achieve the peak "pliability" that is extending his career.
The Globe reported in 2015 that Guerrero's role with the team had caused some friction among the Patriots' medical and training staff, who were concerned that Guerrero's alternative treatments clashed with the team's methods. That led some staff members to approach Belichick with their concerns. However, according to the Globe, Belichick indicated to the training staff that his hands were tied because of Brady's special status on the team.
Robert Kraft, the Patriots' chairman and CEO, told The New York Times Magazine in 2015 that Guerrero's role with the team "doesn't come without its challenges."
"But we have a coach that's accepting," Kraft told the Times, "and we have a leader of the franchise who's driving it."