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New England Patriots book details decline of Tom Brady-Bill Belichick relationship

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A new book about the New England Patriots will be published next month, and some excerpts were released Tuesday via ESPN about what to expect.

The book, "It's Better To Be Feared," by ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham chronicles the breakdown in the relationship between Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, who has since left the team and won his seventh Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "Feared" is due out Oct. 12 through Liveright Publishing.

Wickersham's reporting finds that Brady's reasoning for departing were twofold; not only did Brady want Kraft and Belichick to commit to the now 44-year-old with worthy contract extensions, he desired a place that would value his input.

"The seamlessness of Brady's proficiency and performance was making his former coach's methodologies look antiquated, even silly," the book says. "It was better to be feared – but was it necessary?"

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady points to teammates as head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft look on after the 2017 AFC Championship Game.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady points to teammates as head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft look on after the 2017 AFC Championship Game.

In 2017, Wickersham writes, Brady told people close to him he no longer wanted to play for Belichick.

"Brady was tired of taking team-friendly deals with no input into how the money saved was spent – and still wanted a long-term contractual commitment," Wickersham writes. "Belichick told associates that every organizational decision now was in support of Brady, geared toward pleasing him and making him successful – and that Kraft meddled with the team, sometimes with opinions, sometimes with restrictive budgets."

According to the book, Kraft called Belichick an "idiot savant" to a confidant and the "biggest (expletive) (expletive) in my life."

"I gave him this opportunity," the owner apparently told someone.

At his Wednesday news conference, Belichick denied the book's assertion that he did not want to meet Brady in person when the quarterback decided to leave the Patriots for the Buccaneers last March,

"No, that's not true," And I've heard a few things about this book, and it sounds like it's a lot of second-, third- and fourth-hand comments. But I'm not going to get into that. I'm going to focus on this game and try to prepare for this game."

Kraft's relationship with Goodell, much closer than public perception let on, is also a theme of the book. League controversies – namely Deflategate and SpyGate – were ever-present during trio's two decades in New England.

Another detail from the book is a study commissioned by Belichick to study the makeup of all-time great athletes: Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Brady, for example. The study found Brady thrived in a "loving and supportive environment" rather than while focusing on the chip on his shoulder.

Other anecdotes released Tuesday were:

• A plan for Bill O'Brien to one day succeed Belichick as head coach if offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels took another job. The plan would be to get fired by the Houston Texans, where he was head coach; he feuded with then-general manager Rick Smith, but O'Brien ultimately won the power struggle and remained.

• In 2008, Eric Mangini, then coach of the New York Jets, tried to attack Belichick after his former boss apparently blew off his wife at an offseason dinner for head coaches.

• Ex-Rams coach Mike Martz thinks the Patriots taped their practices ahead of Super Bowl 36.

• Mike Shanahan voiced support for Belichick during the SpyGate fallout, telling Goodell he wished he'd thought of the tactic.

• Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, on Belichick's staff in New England in 2016, told Belichick he needed to address the team about his support for Donald Trump after the then-candidate read a note from the Patriots coach at a campaign rally. Several players were upset, Wickersham reported, and that feeling continued when Belichick's speech about it landed flat. "It was hypocritical and out of character," one former player said.

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Patriots book details decline of Tom Brady-Bill Belichick relationship