Tom Brady offered his strongest hint yet at tension on the Patriots by choosing to ‘plead the Fifth’ when asked if he feels appreciated by the team

  • Tom Brady hinted at the widely reported and discussed tension on the New England Patriots.
  • When asked if he feels appreciated by the Patriots, Brady said, "I plead the Fifth!"
  • It was reported during the 2017 season that Brady grew frustrated with criticism from head coach Bill Belichick and felt underappreciated, never taking home weekly team awards for his performances.
  • Brady said everyone would like to feel more appreciated in their professional lives, but that he's committed to the Patriots and is working to make himself happy.


Tom Brady hinted on Monday at the widely reported and discussed tension on the New England Patriots while speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

During the 2107 season, it was reported that the relationships between Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, team owner Robert Kraft, and others were fracturing over numerous issues. At the core of many of the issues was Brady's work with his trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero and the ripple effect it created on the team.

On Monday when asked if he felt appreciated by the Patriots, Brady said, "I plead the Fifth!" eliciting laughs from the crowd.

See Brady at the conference: 

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Tom Brady makes appearance at conference in California
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Tom Brady makes appearance at conference in California
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots, and Founder of TB12, speaks at the Milken Institute 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots, and Founder of TB12, speaks at the Milken Institute 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots, and Founder of TB12, speaks at the Milken Institute 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots, and Founder of TB12, speaks at the Milken Institute 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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"Man, that is a tough question," Brady continued. "I think everybody in general wants to be appreciated more in their professional life, but there's a lot of people that appreciate me way more than I ever thought was possible as part of my life. You have different influences in your life and the people I work with, they're trying to get the best out of me. So they're trying to treat me in the way they feel is going to get the best out of me, and I've got to get the best out of myself."

ESPN reported in January that Brady felt unappreciated by the team. It was reported that Brady grew frustrated by criticism from Belichick in team meetings and never receiving weekly awards for his performances.

Brady said on Monday that he's increasingly trying to make himself happy rather than earning the approval of others.

"I think what I'm learning, as you get older, it comes from within — the joy, the happiness, those things come from inside," Brady said. "To seek that from others, to seek that from outside influences, people you work with, people that cheer against you or cheer with you, I feel like it comes from within for me. So I'm trying to build up what's within me, so that I can be the best for me, so that I can be the best for other people."

Brady was also asked on Monday if he's happy, to which he said "I have my moments." He said he's a generally positive person and reiterated that although his relationships on the Patriots ebb and flow, he's committed to the team.

Some of Brady's comments also hinted at a recent report from NBC Sports' Tom Curran. Curran said as Brady has gotten older, he believes strongly in positivity and spirituality, values that don't necessarily line up with how Belichick coaches the Patriots.

See Brady and his coach through the years: 

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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick through the years
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick through the years
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 18: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick holds a sideline meeting with quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe during the fourth quarter of Saturday's NFL preseason game with the Carolina Panthers played in Charlotte. (Photo by John Bohn/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, UNITED STATES: New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick (R) after their win over the St. Louis Rams 03 February, 2002 in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Patriots defeated the Rams 20-17 for the NFL championship. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Belichick and the coaching staff give frantic last second instructions to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the final drive of the game vs. the Chicago Bears 11/10/2002. Brady went on to throw a 20 yd. touchdown pass to wide receiver David Patten to beat the Bears 33-30.� Don Lansu. (Photo by Don Lansu/Getty Images)
NFL Football - New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady against Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Championship at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Penn., on Jan. 25, 2005. Patriots won 41-27. (Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, UNITED STATES: Head coach Bill Belichick (L) of the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady (R) talk 06 February 2005 after winning the Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 to win their second straight Super Bowl and third in four years. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick celebrate after 24-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers in AFC Divisional Playoff game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. on Sunday, January 14, 2007. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH - OCTOBER 20: During the Patriots practice on the practice field at Gillette Stadium, coach Bill Belichick (left) talks with Tom Brady. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick hugs Tom Brady (#12) after winning the game against Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick applauded New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (#12) after Brady's touchdown pass to New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (#85) in the fourth quarter as the Patriots took on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots confers with Tom Brady #12 during a time out in the 2nd half in a game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 07: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hits a tee shot on the 13th hole as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club on February 7, 2014 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 14: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick share a moment as the final seconds tick off the clock in their victory, which gave them their 6th straight AFC East title. The New England Patriots hosted the Miami Dolphins in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12, team owner Robert Kraft, and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 13: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws the first pitch before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on from left at Fenway Park on April 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 25: With only three days off between games, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (rear) and head coach Bill Belichick (front) will have very little time to get ready for Thursday night's game against the Dolphins. Here they are pictured on the sidelines during Sunday's game against the New York Jets in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts with head coach Bill Belichick during the fourth quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 30: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 stand onstage during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady #12 and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate a 34-28 overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 7: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady raises a Lombardi Trophy during the rally in City Hall Plaza following the Patriots Super Bowl LI Victory Parade in Boston on Feb. 7, 2017. Head coach Bill Belichick is behind him. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 31: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 chat before a preseason game with the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Brady also confirmed during the conference that he's returning for the 2018 season. He reiterated his desire to play into his mid-40s, but said people in his life like his wife and kids are getting "the short end of the stick."

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