It’s been a strange offseason for the New England Patriots, to say the least.
Not only did they lose key players like running back Dion Lewis, wide receiver Danny Amendola and offensive tackle Nate Solder, but they also had to deal with rumors that quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski might have lost their motivation to play.
This all came following a season surrounded by controversy regarding the relationship between head coach Bill Belichick and Brady over the influence of Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero.
Suffice to say, many people believed there was trouble in paradise, and that was even before the Patriots fell to the Eagles 41-33 in the Super Bowl.
Brady, for his part, has insisted that he is committed to playing next year and beyond, despite the fact that he skipped the Patriots’ voluntary offseason workout program.
Still, many people yearn to know how strained the relationship between Brady, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft really is. And though fans will likely never know the inner workings of that relationship, Brady did recently provide a clue as to how he feels about the Patriots organization.
On Monday, Brady spoke at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California, and during an interview with moderator Jim Gray, he had a telling response to a question about whether he feels appreciated by the team.
“Do you feel appreciated by (Belichick and Kraft) and do they have the appropriate gratitude for what you have achieved?” Gray asked.
With one sentence, the star quarterback stunned the football world.
“I plead the Fifth!” he exclaimed, drawing laughter from those in attendance at the event.
In a followup to his initial response, Brady gave a bit more measured answer.
“Man, that is a tough question,” Brady said. “I think everybody in general wants to be appreciated more in their professional life, but there’s a lot of people that appreciate me way more than I ever thought was possible as part of my life.”
“You have different influences in your life and the people I work with, they’re trying to get the best out of me. So they’re trying to treat me in the way they feel is going to get the best out of me, and I’ve got to get the best out of myself,” he added.
Brady was also asked on Monday whether or not he was happy, to which he responded, “I have my moments,” per ESPN.
This line of questioning stemmed from something Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, said of her husband recently on the docuseries “Tom vs. Time.” Gisele had said she wanted Tom to feel happy and appreciated, so Gray was likely wondering whether Brady did indeed feel content.
And despite his “I plead the fifth” response, it does appear as though Brady is happy with where he is at in life.
When queried regarding whether he is happy with his current situation, he said, “Yeah. I would say absolutely. And in general, I’m a very happy person.”
“I’m a very positive person. It’s just my personality, I always look at things as the glass is half full. I think there are different times; when you’ve been on the same team for a long time, you have relationships for a long time, they ebb and flow like every relationship,” Brady said.
“But there are no people I’d rather play for or be committed to than the team I’ve been with for a long time, and really the fans and the community,” he added.
Brady even seems to feel this way about Belichick, who he called the “best coach in the history of the NFL,” albeit one who’s not always easy to play for.
“We’ve had a great relationship, a very respectful relationship for a long time. I feel like he’s the best coach in the history of the NFL. He has a management style (with) players, and he would say, ‘Look, I’m not the easiest coach to play for.’ I agree. He’s not the easiest coach to play for,” Brady said.
“But he’s the best for me. I think what he’s proven is that whatever talent he has, he maximizes his talent. What more could you ask of a coach than that? That’s what I want as a player,” the star quarterback continued.
“He’s been an incredible coach, he’s been an incredible mentor to me. He’s taught me so much football. To be a 22-year-old kid and come and learn from him, I wouldn’t be sitting here without his coaching. I wouldn’t have the success without how incredibly talented he was, along with a lot of the other coaches, a lot of the other players, a lot of the other people in the organization. Because it takes everybody to do it.”
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