There are have been rumors and vague reports in recent weeks regarding the relationship between Alex Guerrero – Tom Brady's trainer/friend/business partner – and the Patriots.
Late Tuesday afternoon the story came to a head when the Boston Globe came out with report indicating that Bill Belichick has indeed reduced Guerrero's role in Foxborough recently, the trainer apparently no longer allowed on team flights or the sideline during games.
"For reasons he has declined to explain, Belichick weeks ago stripped Guerrero of his special team privileges, restoring a measure of tradition to the team's medical and training operation, according to several people familiar with the Patriots' internal operations," the Globe writes.
"Guerrero is now banned from boarding Patriots jets. His sideline access has been revoked. And he no longer is permitted to treat players other than Brady in his exclusive office at Gillette Stadium.
"The development has created some friction in Foxborough, where Belichick and Brady have collaborated over 18 years to help create the first great football dynasty of the 21st century, sources said. But the coach and quarterback, in keeping with their tradition, have refused to publicly address a potentially distracting topic, in this case Guerrero's diminished status."
Elsewhere, the Globe notes that Brady leads a group of four Patriots invited to the Pro Bowl, including fullback James Develin. As New England gets ready to host Buffalo, the Globe passes along Bills cornerback Tre'Davious changing his tune about possible retribution against tight end Rob Gronkowski. Looking ahead, the Globe assesses the threat level of the Patriots potential postseason opponents.
The Boston Herald *declares that the Bills should try to hurt Gronkowski with a win. The *Herald *writes that Brady is going to win the NFL MVP and his haters have to deal with it. The Herald* Patriots notebook notes that Develin is quite worthy of his first Pro Bowl honor. The* Herald* takes an historic look at the Patriots defense limiting opponents' late-game heroics.
The Providence Journal notes that Gronkowski not only earned Pro Bowl recognition, but also AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. The ProJo *looks at Develin, a former Brown defensive lineman, making the Pro Bowl. The *ProJo's film review says the Steelers were helpless against Gronkowski on Sunday.
ESPNBoston.com writes that the Patriots are hitting the reset button after Sunday's emotional and draining win in Pittsburgh. ESPNBoston.com writes about Develin's long journey to the Pro Bowl. ESPNBoston.com has Belichick not ruling out New England using its final IR spot for a player to return.
ESPN has an MVP poll, saying that Rams running back Todd Gurley is chasing Brady, just like everyone else.
WEEI.com passes on word that the son of former Patriots linebacker and current Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel has committed to play football at Boston College. WEEI.com has its look at the Patriots Pro Bowl selections.
With Sunday's win in Pittsburgh as motivation, NBC Sports Boston looks at the greatest regular season Patriots game of the Belichick era in New England. NBC Sports Boston gives a paying-client's view of who Guerrero is and what TB12 is all about. NBC Sports Boston's Patriots report card says that little things meant a lot in the win over Pittsburgh.
The Ringer writes that Gronkowski is more important to the Patriots offense than ever.
CBSSports.com offers up the formula for every AFC contender to beat the Patriots this postseason.