New book says Tom Brady long worried about being 'pushed out' by Bill Belichick

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady felt trapped in the offseason and was not sure he wanted to play anymore for the only NFL coach he has ever had, Bill Belichick, according to a new book on Belichick's life.

"If you're married 18 years to a grouchy person who gets under your skin and never compliments you, after a while you want to divorce him," a source with knowledge of the Brady-Belichick relationship told ESPN's Ian O'Connor, author of "Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time," after the 2017 season.

"Tom knows Bill is the best coach in the league, but he's had enough of him. If Tom could, I think he would divorce him."

Based on interviews with 350 people (Belichick did not cooperate), the book, due out Sept. 25, reports Brady was so upset with his coach that he still wasn't certain in late March if he would return to the Patriots. "But in the end, even if he wanted to, Brady could not walk away from the game, and he could not ask for a trade," O'Connor wrote. "The moment Belichick moved  [Jimmy] Garoppolo to  San Francisco, and banked on Brady's oft-stated desire to play at least into his mid-forties, was the moment Brady was virtually locked into suiting up next season and beyond. Had he retired or requested a trade, he would have risked turning an adoring New England public into an angry mob."

ESPN's Seth Wickersham and several Boston outlets had reported on the escalating tension between Brady and Belichick during last season, much of it revolving around the coach's decision to reduce the team access that had been granted to Alex Guerrero, Brady's business partner and fitness coach. Belichick was no longer giving his quarterback the most-favored-nation status he'd enjoyed in the past.  New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman recalled in the book that Belichick told him years earlier about a disagreement Brady had with a Patriots strength coach over equipment. "Belichick said, 'If Tom Brady wants it, Tom Brady gets it,'" Cashman said. "If you get a player at that level, you get him what he needs, even if the strength coach says otherwise."

Brady was the league's only starting quarterback who didn't attend voluntary OTAs in the spring; he was also angered by the Malcolm Butler benching in the Super Bowl LII loss to  Philadelphia. Asked by broadcaster Jim Gray in late April if he felt appreciated by Belichick and owner Robert Kraft (the quarterback maintains a close relationship with Kraft), Brady responded, "I plead the Fifth! ... Man, that is a tough question."

The transactional relationship between the five-time champs, Brady and Belichick, had been reduced to a stare-down that didn't surprise those in the quarterback's camp. According to the book, Brady's family long felt Belichick would push out his longtime franchise player before he was ready to retire. Brady's sister Nancy is quoted telling people that her brother believed "Belichick will definitely do to him someday what the  Colts did to Peyton [Manning]."

Brady started worrying for his job almost immediately after Belichick cited his age and contract status -- and the coach's own desire to be "early rather than late at that position" -- when the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in 2014. One New England assistant said the general feeling among staff members around that time wasn't that Belichick's system could make Super Bowl quarterbacks out of all 32 NFL starters. "But if you gave us any of the top 15, we could do it," the assistant said. "I don't think the coaches view Tom as special as everyone else in football does. Mr. Kraft thinks Tom is the greatest gift ever, but the coaches don't."

Other notable material in the book includes:



Urban Meyer/Aaron Hernandez

Bill Parcells

Nick Saban


Belichick's father