A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. – Mark Twain (Incorrectly)
Now, the last time it even seemed worth making a unique post about Tom Brady’s ongoing cheating history was way back in January 2016 after the Peyton Manning-led (but Brock Osweiler-powered) Denver Broncos had bested the New Engl*nd P*triots in the AFC Championship game. Manning had just been noted in an Al-Jazeera America piece that accused him of using HGH and, as part of the cover, enlisting his wife as the recipient of the packages. With the strength of the US HIPAA laws (checks to make sure HIPAA wasn’t attached to the bill that killed net neutrality) and Ashley Manning’s status as a non-public individual, investigation regarding the matter largely fizzled out. The Broncos beat the Lazy-Cam-Newton-Led Carolina Panthers, Manning plugged his latest Budweiser distribution investments twice on global television, and, as expected, Peyton Manning retired from the NFL
[While Manning declined to bring forth a defamation suit against Al-Jazeera, the Manning HGH non-case lives on as a satellite story pinned to the lawsuits brought forth by two other athletes accused by the network, Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and now-retired Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. The Washington Post has a pretty good piece on the status of it here. Seemingly of note in the continuation of this thread is that Manning likely did use his wife as a cover to acquire HGH for his use.]
Brady, on the other hand, returned for the 2016 season and, after dropping his appeal of a four-game suspension for a separate non PED-related cheating scandal (Deflategate), lead the team to a Super Bowl LI overtime championship against the Atlanta Falcons (the 28-3 game). One key play to that game was a 4th quarter catch made by WR Julian Edelman, who caught a seemingly incomplete pass that had bounced off a defender’s legs before Edelman snagged it just inches above the turf between two other defenders.
In 2017 (last season, if you’re keeping up), Brady returned and the team made a run to Super Bowl LII, where they were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles.
One notable stat about that Super Bowl loss — 0 targets for that same WR Edelman. The player who had just enjoyed a career year in 2016, earning an $11 million contract extension, tore his ACL in the preseason and missed that entire 2017 Super Bowl run.
Little has been heard from Brady since accepting the four-game suspension. Not that he was Mr Media Appearance before but — probably wisely — Brady has since pretty much shunned the spotlight and provided just the minimal team-friendly interviews where he’s provided no verbal fodder regarding the franchise, his career, or the future of this team. He does not eat red meat and he does not provide red meat for the press.
Now, Edelman’s destroyed ACL at the ripe NFL age of 30 was but one minor 2017 Patriots storyline. The reported drama between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and others over the influence of Alex Guerrero in the locker room was another. These two stories intersected this month when Edelman, who was training with Guerrero as part of his recovery regimen, tested dirty on a league drug for an unrecognizable substance was issued a four-game suspension.
Edelman has provided the standard denial-apology and plan to appeal (“I’m sorry. I have no idea how I pissed hot!”) while Guerrero went ahead and threw Edelman right under the bus to defend the TB12 Method.
From Alex Guerrero…”I’ve known Julian since his rookie year and he is a phenomenal athlete who takes his training seriously—it’s disappointing to hear today’s news. Elite athletes sometimes work with multiple coaches and health professionals as part of their training. 1 of 2
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) June 7, 2018
Alex Guerrero, 2 of 2
“Here at our facility, we take a natural, holistic, appropriate and, above all, legal approach to training and recovery for all of our clients. And anyone who would suggest otherwise is irresponsible, and just plain wrong.”
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) June 7, 2018
Where the business partner of the President’s closest NFL ally would get the idea to bring a loyal teammate into a circle of illegal behavior, exploit the benefits of his performance, and then completely disavow that individual the moment accusations of wrongful activity surfaced — well, I just have no clue where they’d think that is ok.
Look, it’s not that Edelman’s PED use is a surprise. He’s older, he needs to recover, and the Patriots roster is a bad place to be both expensive and underperforming. Even before you consider that he’s hanging around with the NFL equivalent of Silent Bob, you gotta expect that Edelman’s doing anything he can to expedite his recovery. What’s something new — at least to this cursory NFL fan — is the immediate rebuttal of Alex Guerrero and associated Tom Brady silence. Well, it is until you consider that — and, of course, this is only if you subscribe to the belief that Guerrero is more Victor Conte than Alexander Fleming — Guerrero’s greatest asset is his outside-the-box thinking. You know…like maybe pushing new methods to cover up the red flags of PED use that, in theory, would turn up an unknown substance — rather than the actual banned substance — when a negative test result was not delivered.
So this isn’t the smoking gun on Brady by any means; but it’s another shell casing on the ground about ten feet away from a bullet-riddled body. And, while Edelman has been reported as more of a casual TB12 Performance Center patron, I’m excited to see what we learn in the near-future from the test results of more bought-in players — like perpetual injury risk Rob Gronkowski. And as I read new pieces about Guerrero and Edelman (and there’s very little meat to them; I’ve about touched on every public fact here already) the one odd thing I find about the reporting is that the perception of Guerrero has gone from Dude with Sketch History to TB12 Trainer and Innovative Trainer.
Granted, much of the focus on this matter is coming from Boston media where the fact that Guerrero has finished off paying the last of his FTC fines from back when he was investigated twice by the feds is viewed as a sort of redemption marking the end of this poor fella’s time served. One person seemingly not bought in; one Coach Bill Belichik.
Say what you will about Bill [in the comments] but, in the battle for the Patriots locker room, is it even a question to ask which man — Belichik or Guerrero — is more committed to doing what is best for the success of the franchise? Belichik, who operates as his own GM, has a proven history of operating without concern for roster changes. During Brady’s four game suspension in ’16, Belichik went 3-1 with two backup quarterbacks that he has since traded. Has Tom Brady been a valuable asset to Belichik? Of course. But does he need him? History shows that Belichik has a Plan B. What is Guerrero’s? Not to train future Patriots quarterbacks; only to keep Brady going as long as possible — and then let Belichik figure out what to do when the day comes that Brady’s wheels fall off.
Of course, Edelman eating a four game suspension (or even losing his roster spot after this all shakes out) is as decipherable as a polar bear in a blizzard. Players cheat. Players get caught. Players take punishments. New England gives old guys the axe. But as far as what Edelman’s tests mean with regard to Guerrero, TB12, and Tom Brady — let’s just put a pin in it until next time.