Earlier today, the New England Patriots started their 2018 offseason workout program: Players arrived at Gillette Stadium to participate in the first phase of strength and conditioning work. While sessions are voluntary, the team is expected to have a strong attendance. The Patriots' two biggest names, however, will not be with their teammates today – and potentially beyond.
Both quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski are absentees for the start of the workouts. While Gronkowski's absence adds fuel to the fire of his unhappiness with his contract situation, Brady's is tied to a charity event in Qatar. But even though the NFL's best passer returns from the Middle East later today, he should not be expected to be a regular participant during offseason workouts, according to ESPN's Jeff Darlington:
Even after Tom Brady returns from Qatar, I do not anticipate he will be a regular participant in team’s offseason program. He plans to spend more time with family and body coach Alex Guerrero. Brady did miss parts of Pats’ offseason program in 08, 09 and 10 so not unprecedented.
Brady's absence, as Darlington notes, is little cause for concern since the 40-year old has skipped the voluntary portion of offseason workouts before. Furthermore, the greatest quarterback of all time is known for making sure his body stays in football shape together with his personal coach Alex Guerrero. Even though Guerrero is a somewhat controversial figure, he has played a key role in helping Brady stay on top of his game into his 40s.
Of course, the report will likely lead to more speculation about turmoil inside the Patriots organization. At the end of the day, however, Brady has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his training regimen. It therefore seems as if Darlington's report is not that big of a deal – at least if Brady returns for organized team activities in late May.