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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bill Belichick

Here’s why Bill Belichick was able to avoid Josh Gordon questions

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick probably isn’t all that anxious to discuss the trade that is sending Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns to his New England Patriots, and the coach somehow found a way to avoid any and all questions about Gordon on Wednesday.

By all indications, the trade has been finalized. Heck, even the Patriots themselves have been hyping it up for more than 24 hours.

Both the Patriots and Browns announced the trade on Monday, and it appeared on the NFL’s personnel wire on Tuesday. That typically means a deal has been finalized, but here’s a sampling of what reporters got when they asked Belichick about Gordon on Wednesday:

How is it that Belichick gets away with this? According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, there has been a tweak in the language with the Gordon trade. Initially, it was reported that the Patriots would send a fifth-round pick to the Browns and get back a seventh-round pick down the road if Gordon is not active for at least 10 games in New England this season. As it turns out, the Pats are getting that seventh-round pick regardless.

So, that answers that. Belichick will again be bombarded with questions about Gordon on Thursday, and he’ll really have no excuse not to answer them. But for a coach who has treated us to some phenomenal zingers when he doesn’t feel like talking, any loophole to not provide insight is bound to be exploited.

Bill Belichick zings reporter over question about roster cuts

Bill Belichick

NFL teams are getting ready to trim their rosters from 90 to 53 players in advance of the Sept. 1 deadline, which means several veterans will be changing uniforms in the coming days. Preparing for that is a big part of a coach’s job during the preseason, as Bill Belichick so eloquently put it on Tuesday.

When a reporter asked Belichick if his coaching staff has been monitoring other teams for potential free agents that could become available, the Patriots coach delivered a fantastic zinger.

For those of you who are wondering, Belichick was likely referring to a popular dessert sold by the New England-based restaurant chain Friendly’s.

As usual, Belichick is in midseason form very early on. He already got a rise out of the media with his joke about the Hall of Fame Game earlier this offseason, and the watermelon roll reference won’t be the last of it.

Bill Belichick dismisses same Alex Guerrero question that angered Tom Brady

Bill Belichick

Alex Guerrero may have regained some of his privileges with the New England Patriots in advance of the 2018 season, but don’t expect either Tom Brady or Bill Belichick to go into detail about the arrangement between the trainer and the team.

On Monday morning, Brady cut his weekly appearance on WEEI short when he was asked several questions about Guerrero being on the Patriots’ team flight to Carolina for a preseason game last week. The star quarterback said “I’m not getting into all that” when asked if there has been a change in the relationship between Guerrero and Belichick from last year. When pressed with a couple of follow-up questions about the same topic, Brady bailed.

A few hours later, Belichick was asked a similar question while meeting with the media.

There were reports last year that Guerrero had been banned from traveling with the team and being on the sidelines, as he is not an employee of the Patriots organization. He does, however, run the TB12 Performance Center that is headquartered at Gillette Stadium, and several Patriots players receive treatment there.

Between Guerrero flying on the team plane to Carolina and a report we heard about his whereabouts during offseason workouts, it seems like someone has made an effort to keep the peace between Brady’s guru and Belichick. That said, it’s no surprise no one is willing to talk about it publicly.

Tom Brady’s trainer Alex Guerrero travels on team plane with Patriots

Tom Brady

One of the main reasons for the alleged rift between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is that Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, had his access to the team limited at some point in the past year. Has Belichick decided to lighten up in advance of the 2018 season?

Michael Giardi of NFL Network shared an interesting piece of information on Thursday when he reported that Guerrero was aboard the Patriots’ official plane for the team’s trip to Carolina to face the Panthers.

While that may not sound significant, it represents a change from the arrangement that existed at some point last year. Right around the time ESPN released its bombshell story about the power struggle within the Patriots organization, Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe reported that Guerrero has been “banned from boarding Patriots jets” and had his sideline access revoked. The trainer was also prohibited from working with any member of the team other than Brady at his private suite at Gillette Stadium.

It’s entirely possible that Belichick has lightened up with restricting Guerrero, and there’s also a chance Patriots owner Robert Kraft had a hand in it. Between Guerrero being on the team plane to Carolina and a report we heard about his whereabouts earlier this offseason, it seems like Belichick has tweaked some of the restrictions he had in place.

Bill Belichick takes in Red Sox game from owner’s box

Bill Belichick Red Sox

Even Bill Belichick has caught Red Sox fever.

Belichick took in Sunday night’s Red Sox-Yankees rivalry game at Fenway Park. He was a guest in owner John Henry’s box and was shown by ESPN chatting it up with Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski:

Belichick was joined at the game by his friend, former World Series-winning manager Tony La Russa.

Belichick’s New England Patriots recently opened up training camp and are scheduled to play their first preseason game on Thursday. They rank highly on our list of teams most likely to dethrone the Eagles as Super Bowl champs.

Bill Belichick gave Tom Brady day off for his birthday

Tom Brady

Bill Belichick does not seem like the type of guy who would go out of his way to give birthday presents, especially on a work day. But with four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady turning 41 on Friday, it appears Belichick was feeling quite generous.

Several Patriots reporters noticed on Friday that Brady was watching veteran backup Brian Hoyer and rookie Danny Etling take part in most drills. The birthday boy simply watched from the sideline throughout the majority of practice, and it seems like that was Belichick’s way of giving him a gift.

In past years, that probably would not be significant. However, it could give a small glimpse into the current state of the Belichick-Brady relationship. There have been numerous reports about tension between the two, and there is likely some truth behind them. That hasn’t stopped Brady from saying some very nice things about his longtime coach, and Belichick giving Brady a day off for his 41st birthday certainly indicates there is no deep-seeded hatred between the two.

Bill Belichick gets testy with reporter over Malcolm Butler questions

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick did not want to talk about his controversial decision to bench Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl in the days after his New England Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, so you can just imagine how he feels about it now. That didn’t stop a reporter from going there on the eve of training camp.

On Wednesday morning, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe told Belichick he would not be doing his job if he didn’t ask about last season and the Butler situation. Belichick quickly shut the question down, but Shaughnessy wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Things got awkward in a hurry:

“Every day that I’ve coached here, I’ve done the best that I could for this football team and I’ll continue to do that,” Belichick said. “Right now my focus is on the 2018 season — not 2017, not 2014, not 2007, not 2004, not 2001 and not 2000. I’m not focused on any of those seasons. They’re done.”

It’s no secret that Belichick’s decision to bench Butler has created issues with the Patriots, and time will tell if that spills over into this season. One legendary coach insists none of that will matter once things get underway, but that doesn’t mean the questions about it are going to stop.

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