Patriots downplay theories in ESPN’s ‘beginning of the end’ report

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — A new report released by ESPN suggests there’s trouble at the top of the New England Patriots organization but the team was quick to release a statement downplaying the theories presented.

ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham published a story overnight saying a rift is growing between quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and chairman and CEO Robert Kraft.

At the center of the struggle, Wickersham suggests, is Brady’s future as the team’s starting quarterback. He cites specifically the spat over Brady’s personal trainer and lifestyle guru Alex Guerrero, and the controversial order to Belichick from Kraft to trade QB Jimmy Garropolo to San Francisco, leaving the Patriots without a viable backup for the future, despite the 40-year-old Brady’s intentions to play for a few more years.

Tom Brady celebrates with trainer Alex Guerrero after defeating the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2016. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In speaking with players, staffers, executives and league sources, Wickersham posits that this may be the “beginning of the end” of the team as we’ve known it over the past decade and a half.

“Those interviewed describe a palpable sense in the building that this might be the last year together for this group,” Wickersham wrote.

The team released a joint statement Friday saying the theories are “unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat-out inaccurate.”

Eyewitness Sports reporter Mark Dondero will have more on the fallout from ESPN’s report tonight on Eyewitness News starting live at 5.