It was the start of a simple question. A reporter was trying to ask if Patriots coach Bill Belichick had spoke to quarterback Tom Brady, who was noticeably absent from the team’s voluntary organized team activities Monday.

Belichick was quick to cut off the reporter before the question could be finished Tuesday.

“I’m not going to talk about the guys that are not here,” Belichick said. “The guys that are here are improving, they’re working hard, those are guys we’re going to focus on.”

RELATED STORY: Sorry, America, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be back

But why did Belichick refuse to talk about his veteran signal caller who has led the Patriots to eight Super Bowl appearances?

Belichick’s deflection to talk about the current players at the workouts could’ve been an attempt to not open a can of worms, so to speak.

The relationship between Brady, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft has been closely monitored ever since an ESPN report in January detailed a power struggle within the Patriots’ organization.

None of the three have openly addressed the report.

Asked earlier this offseason at the Milken Institute if Brady felt appreciated by Belichick and Kraft, the five-time Super Bowl champ and three-time league MVP said he “plead the fifth.” After a brief pause, Brady followed his answer up by calling the question “tough” and elaborating on what he meant by that.

Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was also missing from Monday’s workouts, are expected to report for the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp, which begins on June 5, according to NFL.com.