Patriots: No strife between Kraft, Belichick, Brady

The New England Patriots insist there's no rift in the working relationship between owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

In response to recent reports regarding their relationship within the team, Kraft, Belichick and Brady issued a joint statement Friday:

"For the past 18 years the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship. 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."

The statement comes hours after ESPN, citing unnamed sources, published a story detailing supposed tension within the team. The story looked at alleged differences between Belichick and Brady regarding the role of Alex Guerrero -- the quarterback's fitness coach and business partner -- within the team. It also examined a purported disagreement between Belichick and Kraft regarding the decision to trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers.

Brady addressed the reports while speaking with Jim Gray on Westwood One Radio on Saturday. When asked if he believed the Patriots were a fractured group, he responded, "I don't think so. Only if we let it," per ESPN's Mike Reiss. "I think, for so long, we've proven that we ignore the noise, do our job, speak for ourselves, and focus on what we need to do to help the team win.

"Along with winning and great success comes a lot of things," Brady said. "I think for a long time we've done a great job of winning games and it forces people to be creative with what they talk about and the things they write and the things they may speculate on."

Brady went on to praise his relationship with Belichick.

"I have a great relationship with Coach Belichick," Brady said. "We've worked together for 18 years. There's no coach I'd rather play for, and I've loved my experience here. I certainly couldn't be the player I am today without playing for such a great coach. ... We've had a great season thus far and hopefully we can write a great ending to this particular chapter this season by going out and playing great in the playoffs."

Brady wasn't the only one to discuss the reports. Kraft again refuted the claims made in an interview with Sports Illustrated's MMQB:

"Until Monday at the trade deadline -- I believe that was Oct. 30 -- the last time I talked to Bill [Belichick] about Jimmy's situation was in a group with Bill, [club president] Jonathan [Kraft], [director of player personnel] Nick Caserio ... a small group of us, I think in June. That is the last time I talked to Bill about it. I would see Nick occasionally and say, 'Anything going on?'

"I assumed once the season started, we'd talk again at the end of the season about it. The next time I spoke with Bill about it was the Monday before the trade deadline. He called me on that Monday and said he got a deal with San Francisco, Jimmy for a second-round pick and [quarterback] Brian Hoyer. Turns out they had to cut Hoyer and then we got him. But really, this was basically a second-round pick and Brian Hoyer for Jimmy. Bill asked me if I was OK with this. I was really taken aback a little bit. I wanted to think about it. I talked to Jonathan, who was OK with it, and I called Bill back and said, 'OK.'"

Belichick, Brady and Kraft haven't said anything publicly about divisions within the team. Last month, Brady acknowledged to reporters he had spoken to Belichick about Guerrero's role within the team but did not elaborate.

"I have a lot of conversations with him," Brady said. "Those are private between he and I, and I don't think anyone knows what we talk about. Certainly I've never talked about it. He's never talked about it."

New England is sitting out Wild Card Weekend for the eighth straight season after going 13-3 en route to capturing an AFC East title and home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.