For the second time this year, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady abruptly ended an interview during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio's "Kirk & Callahan" show after co-host Kirk Minihane asked a number of questions Monday about Alex Guerrero, Brady's personal trainer.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Guerrero was back on the Patriots' team plane in advance of Friday's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
At some point last season, he was not among the team's traveling party on road trips, raising questions about whether Coach Bill Belichick was trying to clamp down on Guerrero's access to Brady and the other players he treats. Guerrero also has been spotted inside the team locker room during this year's training camp, Reiss reports.
In January, Brady cut short an interview on "Kirk & Callahan" because their WEEI colleague, Alex Reimer, had called Brady's 5-year-old daughter an "annoying little pissant" when discussing her appearance on "Tom vs. Time," a documentary series about Brady that had premiered on Facebook. Before he hung up, Brady said he would "evaluate whether I want to come on this show again," though the station and the team had announced a contract extension a week earlier, with the deal centered around the quarterback's weekly appearances.
Brady has made no secret of his relationship with Guerrero, whose "TB12 Method" is heavily based on Guerrero's training theories and who also appeared in "Tom vs. Time." Minihane made note of that fact on Monday morning in the aftermath of Brady's hang-up.
"To me, Brady really can't say I'm not gonna talk about Guerrero," he said. "He's made a business partnership with this guy . . . you can't say he's off-topic."
Said Gerry Callahan: "This one is mystifying to me. I don't get it."
As documented in a January story by ESPN's Seth Wickersham, Guerrero's constant presence in the Patriots' locker room became an issue early last season. Belichick realized that he had given Guerrero too much leeway, Wickersham reported, in part because he had begun to criticize the team's trainers. The coach began to restrict Guerrero's access to the team.
Guerrero has a somewhat checkered past. In 2005, the Federal Trade Commission fined him over allegations that he had claimed dietary supplements could help cure cancer. None of his training methods adopted by Brady is all that controversial; instead, it was his outsize influence on Brady and other members of the team.
"Few in the building had a problem with Brady's method - mostly based on stretching with bands, eating lots of vegetables, drinking lots of water, getting lots of sleep and, most of all, achieving peak 'pliability,' " Wickersham wrote.
"They did have a problem with what Brady and Guerrero promised the TB12 Method could do. They claimed it could absolve football of responsibility for injury: 'When athletes get injured, they shouldn't blame their sport,' Brady wrote. The method also was so consuming and unwavering in its rules and convictions that, while it helped some players, it felt 'like a cult' to others, one Patriots staffer says. The way TB12 began to creep into Brady's life worried people close to the QB, many of whom were suspicious of Guerrero. 'Tom changed,' says a friend of Brady's. 'That's where a lot of these problems started.' "