Tom Brady's relationship with his body coach and personal guru Alex Guerrero is under scrutiny once again. The Boston Globe reports the New England Patriots pay TB12 Sports Therapy Center, Brady's and Guerrero's joint-operated athletic training facility which is located in Patriot Place, to provide treatment and nutritional advice for their players — often against the wishes of the team's medical and training staff.
In October, Boston magazine reported the Federal Trade Commission sued Guerrero in 2004 for his role as the pitchman for a duplicitous cancer cure, Supreme Greens. In the infomercial for the supplement, which was a blend of 39 ingredients, Guerrero cited a false study that said 192 of 200 terminally ill patients who tried the product had survived. The FTC eventually banned Guerrero from promoting Supreme Greens or "any substantially similar product."
Eight years later, the FTC ordered Guerrero to shut down the production of Neurosafe, a beverage he wrongly said was a panacea for concussions and head trauma. Brady and Wes Welker endorsed the product.
What's the arrangement with the Patriots and TB12 Sports Therapy Center?
According to the Globe, the Patriots pay the center's market rate of $200 per hour to treat their players. The team is more or less partnering with the facility, which means Brady may profit from the arrangement in some fashion.
The Globe also says several members of the medical and training staffs have approached Bill Belichick with complaints about the partnership and Guerrero's nearly unlimited access to players on the club:
"A source with direct knowledge of one such complaint recalled Belichick’s response: Tom wants him. What am I supposed to do?"
The Patriots reportedly allow Guerrero to operate on players inside of a room in Gillette Stadium and also regularly grant him sideline credentials for their games. The arrangement persisted even as Guerrero endured a 14-month long investigation for practicing physical therapy without a license.
This year, owner Robert Kraft presented Guerrero with a diamond-encrusted Super Bowl rings that says, "We are all Patriots."
Is this kind of partnership against the rules?
If Brady financially benefits from this arrangement, it would appear to be in violation of the spirit of the salary cap. It also robs medical groups the opportunity to be official care providers for the Patriots, which can be highly lucrative.
The NFL, however, tells the Globe it doesn't have a problem with the partnership:
"We are aware of the arrangement and have not determined that there is any violation of the CBA [collective bargaining agreement]," the NFL says.
Though the NFL may not have a policy against this, the NBA does. The league's collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from entering agreements with businesses that are owned by its players.
Other Patriots players have used Guerrero
Guerrero's work with Brady, which began roughly a decade ago and ramped up during Brady's recovery from his season-ending ACL injury in 2008, isn't the first time he's been close with a member of the Patriots. Fifteen years ago, he provided physical therapy for linebacker Willie McGinest, who the Globe says hung up the phone "mid-conversation" when he was asked to talk about Guerrero.
Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the late Junior Seau also used Guerrero. Seau supposedly dubbed Guerrero "Mr. Miyago" for his therapeutic skills.
Brady's support of Guerrero remains steadfast
In an interview with WEEI's Dennis & Callahan in October, Brady brushed off questions about Guerrero's checkered background:
"We’ve talked about several things as it relates to that, and he dealt with that," Brady said in the interview. "I mean, that’s part of his life and that’s something that happened 13 years ago.
"Nutritional supplements and FTC regulation, and all those types of things, there are a lot of gray areas. "I think there’s things [Guerrero] wished he would have done differently. I think that’s part of growing up and understanding that there’s certain things that happen in your life that you do and you wish you didn’t do certain things."
Brady, who leads the NFL in passing yards at 38 and hasn't missed a start for injury since 2008, credits Guerrero for keeping him in peak physical condition.
"I have tremendous belief with Alex and what he’s accomplished with me," Brady said.
Read the full Globe article, which further details Guerrero's extensive legal history, here.
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