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Sure looks like Belichick really is why Brady bolted Pats – Toronto Sun

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Owner Kraft once again all but points the finger at head coach

If you’re still wondering why Tom Brady chose not to re-sign in New England for a 21st season, to instead throw in his lot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two years, you’re sure not alone.

It’s still the talk of the NFL town, so to speak.

And for a second time this week, Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Friday as much pointed the finger of blame at his head coach and football czar, Bill Belichick.

Shortly following Tuesday’s bombshell announcement by Brady that he would not return to the Pats, Kraft said in his first interview, with Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston, that “this is not the way I wanted it to end. He gave the reason that “I just don’t think (Brady) was going to be happy staying in our system at this point.”

On Friday, NFL Network’s Foxboro correspondent Michael Giardi tweeted that Kraft, in an interview, “made this analogy about Tom Brady’s departure: ‘Think about loving your wife & for whatever reason, there’s something — her father or mother — that makes life impossible for you & you have to move on, but you don’t want to.”

There’s a first time for everything, and that might have been the first earthly comparison of Belichick to a mother-in-law, if not the first time someone has called him a compound word with “mother” in it. Ahem.

Then came this captivating little news-drop on yet another busy day of league news, from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: The Patriots “likely would have done” the same contract with Brady, but “Brady never came to them with his desire to return. So there was no offer from (New England). In the end, only the Bucs and the Chargers made offers.”

That jibes with speculative reports from earlier this week, and especially with a riveting piece from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, in which he strung together events since October 2017 and, with sourced confirmations, concluded that the departure by a miffed Brady was inevitable.

Miller theorizes with convincing evidence that Brady came to the decision he some day was going to leave New England upon learning in October 2017 that Belichick counter-offered HIM as trade bait to the San Francisco 49ers, in the hours leading up to the trade deadline. The Niners had merely inquired for the umpteenth time with Belichick that year about trading for Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Kraft had to step in to block that attempted move, as has been reported but never confirmed by principals.

“A Patriots source confirms that’s how it went down,” Miller wrote this week, “and a 49ers source close to (GM) John Lynch says the first-time general manager couldn’t believe his ears when he heard the counter-offer.”

Belichick eventually did trade Garoppolo that month to the Niners, for shocking little in return — just a second-round draft pick. But the damage to Brady’s relationship with Belichick was done.

“Brady, Belichick and Kraft haven’t been the same since,” Miller quoted a source close to Belichick as saying. “Tom learned that Bill was ready to get rid of him. And that lit a fire under his ass.”

It also apparently lit a desire in Brady’s heart to leave Belichick high and dry at some point.

“Every move of Brady’s since that late October (2017) meeting of the Patriots holy trinity,” Miller wrote, citing a former Brady teammate as source, “has been preparing for this moment.”

Remember, that particular trade discussion in 2017 went down only eight months after Brady led the Patriots to the greatest Super Bowl comeback win in history, in a season in which he was named NFL MVP.

Who trades away the reigning Super Bowl MVP in the middle of a season in which he would be named league MVP?

That Belichick could even consider trading him away, even if he was 40 at the time, must have hurt the uber-proud Brady to the core.

“Belichick, Brady and owner Robert Kraft were left in a triangle of frustration that led to this week’s development of the greatest quarterback of all time leaving his NFL home of 20 years,” Miller wrote.

That Kraft keeps all but saying Brady’s poisoned relationship with Belichick is the reason he wanted out of Foxboro tells you the relationship between the owner and his top football man isn’t exactly in perfect lock-step, either.

Otherwise Kraft would shut up about the reasons for Brady’s bolting, to protect Belichick.

More on this is sure to spill out. It has been since fall 2017, beyond Miller’s column this week.

Perhaps Kraft’s view of Belichick in relation to Brady’s departure is similar to what the owner said several weeks following Belichick’s controversial, still inexplicable and unexplained benching of starting cornerback Malcolm Butler in the February 2018 Super Bowl — a narrow loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that prevented New England, it turned out, from winning three straight Super Bowls.

“So as a fan,” Kraft told reporters at the 2018 NFL annual meeting in Orlando, “I can question some of (Belichick’s) moves. As someone who’s privileged to be the owner of this team, I encourage him to keep going with his instincts and keep doing what he thinks is right.

“There’s no doubt in my mind, even if he made an error — and this is true of any of our managers — that if they’re doing it for the right reason, then I support them 100%. And I have never had one instance in the 18 years where Bill hasn’t done what he believes is in the best interests of our team to help us win games.”

And at almost any cost, as we have come to learn time and again. Even at the cost of disenfranchising Tom Brady at the zenith of his career.

Belichick is the greatest NFL head coach ever. But he works in mysterious ways, people.


Tom Brady and at a joint practice with Detroit Lions in Allen Park, Mich., in August 2019.

JOHN KRYK /

Postmedia

Brady contract details: It’s only $50 million base over two years

Tom Brady not only isn’t making $30 million a year on his new NFL contract in Tampa Bay, he can’t even earn that much with incentives.

Details leaked out Friday morning, shortly after Brady posted to social media a photo of him signing his new deal with the Buccaneers, along with a message saying the usual things about being super happy to be a Buccaneer, and can’t wait to meet his new team, etc.

According to NFL Network, ESPN and Sports Illustrated it’s a two-year contract, with clauses forbidding the Bucs to either trade or franchise-tag the former long-time New England Patriot.

The 42-year-old is due to earn identical remuneration in 2020 and 2021: particularly, a fully guaranteed $10-million roster bonus and $15-million salary, with $2.25 million in incentives for finishing in the Top 5 in the league in passer rating, TDs, yards, completion percentage and yards-per-attempt, plus another $2.25 million in incentives tied to playoffs and playing time.

In all, it’s a base $50-million, two-year deal whose earnings could rise to a maximum of $59 million.

JoKryk@postmedia.com

@JohnKryk

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The Olympics and Paralympics have new dates – Canadian Cycling Magazine

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The spread of COVID-19 has rapidly turned into a global pandemic and events have been called off throughout the world. As gatherings of all sizes have been cancelled or rescheduled, the future of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, one of the year’s biggest gatherings, has been a hot topic of discussion. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan initially announced they would make a decision about the future of the Games by April.

RELATED: Live blog: How coronavirus is affecting cycling right now

Unsatisfied with the announcement, and unwilling to put the health and safety of athletes at risk, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced the country would not participate in the Games if they were to take place in 2020. Other nations such as Australia and Brazil quickly followed suit, pulling out of the Olympics and urging the IOC to make a decision on the postponement of the 2020 Games.

RELATED: Canada won’t send athletes to 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

On Mar. 24, Japan’s Prime Minister officially announced the postponement of the Games. The IOC and Japanese government agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan, as a “beacon of hope”. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

RELATED: Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially postponed

New dates

On Mar. 30, the IOC announced the new dates for the event. The Olympics will run from July 24 to Aug. 8, 2021 and the Paralympics will take place between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5, 2021.

“I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge,” says IOC president Thomas Bach. “Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

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Tavares thinking of New York friends ‘right in the fire’ of COVID-19 crisis – Sportsnet.ca

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In his 11th year as an NHLer, John Tavares grasps the importance of each spring that passes without a deep playoff run. You only get so many chances.

Yet even as the COVID-19 pandemic puts another shot at realizing his Stanley Cup dreams in jeopardy, Tavares has taken a Zen approach to the indefinite pause on league action and life as we used to know it.

The Toronto Maple Leafs captain has savoured the unexpected extra time he’s had to help his wife Aryne care for their six-month-old baby, Jace, reading books on parenthood and opting for Nexflix’s new Babies docuseries over Tiger King — a “mindboggling” show Aryne has been streaming.

“Enjoying time with my son. Having that time with him has been fantastic,” Tavares said Monday, on an NHL-run Zoom conference Monday alongside Brady Tkachuk, Dylan Larkin and Zdeno Chara. (Tavares joked that the only reason he joined the call was to steal training tips from Chara.)

Tavares has poured time into his passion for cooking, and weather in his High Park neighbourhood on the west side of Toronto has been warm enough to fire up the barbecue.

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Yes, he’s been keeping fit with the training equipment he keeps at his house — a few dumbbells and kettle bells, some resistance bands, and a bicycle — but with a return to action more likely months than weeks in the future, there will be plenty time to ramp back up into game shape.

“I think with the uncertainty, it’s a good time to kind of disconnect and relax as well,” Tavares, 29, explained. “We are fortunate with in the world we do live in, in terms of the social aspect and technology and the ability to stay in touch and communicate with loved ones.”

This week, Tavares’s thoughts are with New York, his home for nine years. A Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds arrived Monday in New York City as the number of deaths in the state from the outbreak has climbed above 1,200.

Tavares made a point to send well wishes to Islanders fans, staff and former teammates who are quarantined in a much more dangerous city.

“I know a few people that are really right in the fire of it and seeing kind of how it’s spreading and really making the impact that it is in New York,” Tavares said.

“I really hope everyone there is staying safe and following all the health recommendations, doing everything they can to stay healthy and to slow the spread and help all the people that are on the front line doing everything they can to keep everyone safe and taking a lot of risk themselves.”

­

It should go without saying that squeezing in more hockey playoffs falls a distant second to a world on alert. Tavares will be 30 when 2020-21 kicks off, and at the time of the pause, his Leafs were on a collision course for what could be an enticing Round 1 series versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“In Toronto, we certainly miss playing in front of our fans and going to Scotiabank Arena and competing to play in the playoffs and the opportunity that we had in front of us,” Tavares said.

“It’s a real special thing to be a Maple Leaf — and we never take that for granted and certainly miss it — but more importantly for everyone to stay safe and healthy and continue to follow all the recommendations from the experts and from the local authorities.

“From what I’ve seen, people have been really good in my area understanding that. We’re all here to support each other, help each other and do the best we can to get this back to normal as quickly as possible.”

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Tkachuk says Senators who tested positive for COVID 19 are ‘doing well’ – Sportsnet.ca

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Brady Tkachuk is hunkered down with family in St. Louis trying to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ottawa Senators winger has also been also keeping close tabs on a pair of teammates who tested positive for the disease.

“Those guys, they’re doing well,” Tkachuk said on one of the NHL’s video conference calls Monday. “We’re a tight group, so we’re always in contact with one another.”

Two of the league’s four players to test positive since the season was suspended March 12 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak are unnamed members of the Senators.

The team played in San Jose, Calif., against the Sharks on March 7 despite a warning from officials in Santa Clara County against holding large public gatherings. The Colorado Avalanche played at SAP Center the following night, and two members of that team have also since tested positive for COVID-19.

“All of us are concerned about (the Ottawa players) and everybody impacted by it,” Tkachuk added.

Reporters have been asked by the league to submit questions ahead of time for the video conferences calls.

Despite being on one of two teams to have players test positive, Tkachuk was only asked one question on the subject by a member of the NHL’s public relations staff during a 35-minute session that also included a trio of Atlantic Division rivals — Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and Detroit Red Wings centre Dylan Larkin.

The Senators said March 17 the first player had tested positive before making the second announcement four days later.

Gord Wilson, the club’s veteran radio colour commentator, revealed Friday he also tested positive for COVID-19.

The Senators had two days off in California following their game in San Jose before meeting the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings on consecutive nights. Ottawa’s contest at the Staples Center on March 11 came 24 hours after the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets — who had four players test positive — played at the same arena against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Avalanche faced off against the Kings at Staples Center on March 9.

COVID-19 pandemic has killed thousands of people across the globe, devastated economies and brought about an era of social distancing and self-isolation.

As for the pause to the NHL season, Tkachuk said he and older brother Matthew, who plays for the Calgary Flames, have been doing their best to stay active.

“Been keeping busy with him and my younger sister,” Tkachuk said. “We’ve got the Peloton (bike) downstairs that we’ve been going on. We’ve been just keeping active with basketball and stuff like that. It gets fired up.

“It’s not stuff we’re not used to, but I’m trying to make the most of it.”

Tavares, who’s at home in Toronto with his wife and young son, said it took some time to process this new reality.

“First couple days just try to get an understanding of kind of where things are at and what’s hit us,” Tavares said. “Since then just try to develop some type of routine, some type of structure.”

Select players from the Metropolitan Division and Pacific Division took part in video conference calls late last week, while the Central Division is scheduled to go Tuesday.

Chara provided the funniest moment of his session when he was asked — every player has been lobbed the same question — which teammate he’d least like to spend time with in quarantine?

The answer: Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.

“The way he farts … the smell is awful,” said Chara, who had the other players cracking up. “He likes his chicken wings.”

Turning serious, Chara, whose Bruins sat first in the overall standings when the league paused after falling in Game 7 of last spring’s Stanley Cup final, said it’s important to put everything in perspective.

“It’s one of those situations that you can’t really control,” said the 43-year-old defenceman. “Right now we all have to look after each other and look after our families. Hockey’s secondary.

“Hopefully we will play again and we’ll see when that’s gonna be.”

On a separate call with a representative from the remaining Atlantic Division teams later Monday, Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber touched on the public service announcement he did on the importance of listening to public health and government officials during the crisis.

“We’re in this together,” Weber said. “As soon as someone’s messing around or not taking it seriously, that’s when things can turn bad for everyone.

“It’s tough times, but we’ve just got to stick together and come through this together.”

Players were also asked their preference for how the league should proceed if it’s allowed to resume this spring or summer.

“It would be tough to jump straight into playoffs, there’s no question about it,” Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman said. “But this is uncharted waters for everyone.

“It’s tough to see where this is going to end.”

Added Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel: “We really don’t know what tomorrow holds, never mind a month from now.”

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