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Patriots' Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick call reports of power struggle 'fallacies'

By Alex Butler
Patriots' Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick call reports of power struggle 'fallacies'
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady (12) watch a play during warm ups before a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 10 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The New England Patriots released a joint statement, calling recent reports of a power struggle within the franchise "unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate."

ESPN published a report on Friday, citing multiple sources within the organization and NFL stating that there is tension inside the franchise between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft.

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That tension relates to Brady's relationship with business partner Alex Guerrero, Belichick and former teammate Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo - viewed by many as the heir to Brady in the Patriots' franchise - was recently traded to the San Francisco 49ers.

Those interviewed for the article told ESPN that this "might be the last year together for" Brady. Belichick and Kraft. The prolific trio deny the "theories" and claim to be "united."

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"For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship," the Patriots said in the joint statement Friday. "In recent days, there have been multiple media reports that have speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate. The three of us share a common goal. We look forward to the enormous challenge of competing in the postseason and the opportunity to work together in the future, just as we have for the past 18 years. It is unfortunate that there is even a need for us to respond to these fallacies. As our actions have shown, we stand united."

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President Donald Trump is presented with a New England Patriots helmet from Patriots team owner Bill Belichick as team owner Robert Kraft watches, during a ceremony where Trump honored the Super Bowl LI Champions New England Patriots at the White House on April 19 in Washington, D.C. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Brady teamed up with Belichick and Kraft after being picked up in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. He went on to win five Super Bowls as a member of the Patriots. Despite turning 40-years-old this season, Brady remains an MVP candidate. He led the league with 4,577 passing yards this season and threw 32 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. The Patriots are the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Garoppolo and Brady share agent Don Yee, who also released a statement following the ESPN story.

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"I don't really know what to say; it's tough to have a response since it didn't appear to me to have one on-the-record quote," Yee said in his statement, according to NFL.com. "All I can suggest is don't believe everything you read."

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The Patriots have a bye in the AFC Wild Card round, but host the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans or Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional round at 8:15 p.m. Jan. 13 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

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