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Rex Ryan once told Jets he was going to punch Bill Belichick in the face

Rex-Ryan-Bill-Belichick-is-Best-Coach-in-NFLWhen Rex Ryan was first hired by the New York Jets, he started his tenure out with a bang by saying he did not come to the AFC East to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. Since then, Ryan has been nothing but complimentary toward Belichick, often referring to him as one of the greatest coaches of all time. And then there was that one time when Rex said he was going to punch Belichick in the face.

Former Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson told an entertaining story on NFL Network Tuesday about Rex getting his team fired up to face the New England Patriots.

“We were playing the Patriots one time, and as I mentioned, Rex is a master motivator,” Tomlinson said. “It was going to be a big game, a heated rivalry game, and Rex got in front of us, he said, ‘I’m going to set the tempo today, guys,’ he said, ‘I’m going to set the tempo when I meet Bill Belichick in the center of the field, I’m gonna start it off and punch him in the face.’ I loved it.”

Of course, Ryan would never actually do it (we think). This is the same Rex that once joked he was thrilled to beat Belichick by being named the most overrated coach in the league. That being said, Tomlinson said the Jets won the game and the speech worked.

“He was motivating his guys and he wanted to jump it off,” Tomlinson continued. ” … Our coach showed confidence that he has in us (and) in himself. He can be joking and lighten the mood at the same time while being serious about the competition.”

Ryan’s confidence has been known to make him look like an idiot in the past, but his players seem to love playing for him. In a league that is filled with egomaniacs, that can sometimes be half the battle.

Bill Belichick reportedly advised Aaron Hernandez to rent a safe house and lay low

Aaron HernandezThroughout the entire Aaron Hernandez murder investigation, people have wondered what exactly the New England Patriots knew about their former tight end’s life off the football field. It has become obvious that Hernandez hung around with a shady crowd and did his best to continue living the life of a thug, but to what extent were the Patriots aware of his indiscretions?

In a lengthy Rolling Stone piece that examine’s Hernandez’s life since childhood, Bill Belichick’s alleged knowledge of the 23-year-old’s crumbling personal life becomes a bit more clear. This past spring, before Odin Lloyd was shot and killed, Belichick had reportedly warned Hernandez that he was down to his final strike with the team.

Rolling Stone’s Paul Solotaroff claims Belichick was made aware of a domestic dispute at Hernandez’s Hermosa Beach, Calif. rental in March, where police were called after Hernandez allegedly put his fist through a window. No arrest was made, but Belichick reportedly “exploded” on Hernandez and told him he would be traded or cut at the end of the 2013 if he didn’t shape up.

In February, prior to the Hermosa Beach incident, Hernandez had reportedly flown to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis to confide in Belichick that he believed his life was in danger. A source told Solotaroff that Hernandez explained to Belichick that he was worried a group of gangsters he had befriended were “trying to kill him.”

According to a close Hernandez associate, Belichick advised the former Florida Gator to rent a safe house and lay low for a while. It is believed that he followed the advice by later renting an apartment in Franklin, Mass., though I highly doubt Belichick envisioned it becoming the so called “flophouse” where investigators seized several pieces of evidence after being led there by Carlos Oritz.

As we shared with you on Tuesday, the Rolling Stone article also claimed Hernandez was a heavy angel dust user who carried a gun around with him for safety. One friend of Hernandez’s family speculated that his use of angel dust, which can alter a person’s mentality, led to his paranoia.

“Don’t matter what it’s about: Aaron’s out of his mind,” the friend said. “He’s been twisted on dust now for more than a year, which is when all of this crazy sh– started.”

Previous reports have indicated that Hernandez had gang ties and feared for his life, so that seems to be a common theme. Whether or not his alleged drug use made those fears too much to handle remains a mystery.

Wes Welker: I still worry about violating Bill Belichick’s media rules

Willie-McGinest-Wes-Welker-divaWes Welker spent the last six seasons of his career catching passes for the New England Patriots. You don’t survive six seasons in Foxboro without immersing yourself in the Patriot Way, which Welker seemed to personify as well as anyone. He may have moved on and signed with the Denver Broncos, but the 32-year-old still worries about breaking the strict rules drilled into his head by Bill Belichick.

In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, Welker spoke somewhat candidly about the end of his tenure in New England. While most people believe it was the Patriots’ frugal ways that resulted in the divorce, Welker alluded to a relationship with Belichick that had begun to sour.

SI’s Chris Ballard wrote that Belichick had begun riding Welker “in a way he never had before, admonishing him in front of the team.”

“It was just kind of hard,” Welker said, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “One of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him … But he does it to everybody, it’s the way he is.”

Like most other teams, the Broncos don’t seem nearly as strict as the Patriots when it comes to their players answering questions or speaking to the media. In fact, Belichick rules with such an iron fist that Welker admitted he is still concerned about whether or not his former coach will approve of the things he says to writers and reporters.

“When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think,” he explained. “I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?”

Ballard added that Welker is “conflicted” when reflecting on his time in New England and that he feels things changed toward the end when his relationship with Belichick “deteriorated.” Welker loves to joke around, and his fun-loving ways once got him benched for the start of a playoff game against the New York Jets. Last season, there was even chatter about Belichick phasing Welker out of the offense before he began lighting it up and Julian Edelman went down with an injury.

Players enjoy playing for the Patriots because of their winning culture, but no one would ever tell you it is a relaxed environment. Welker’s comments remind us that Belichick’s demanding ways can take their toll on even the most polished professionals.

Bill Belichick on Aaron Hernandez: ‘I’m responsible for players we bring in’

Bill-Belichick-Aaron-HernandezBill Belichick spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. While most of his press conference was vintage Belichick, he showed more compassion and regret than many people expected him to.

Belichick began the news conference by expressing his condolences to the Lloyd family and calling the murder a “tragedy.”

“This is a sad day on so many levels,” Belichick said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim.”

Belichick mentioned Hernandez by name at the very beginning of his lengthy opening statement, but only referred to him as “the player” from that point on. He stated that he agreed “100%” with the comments Patriots owner Robert Kraft made about the situation earlier this offseason, and then surprised some by taking responsibility for the fact that Hernandez did not work out.

“We’ll learn from this terrible experience,” Belichick said. “This does not in any way represent the way the New England Patriots want to do things. As coach, I’m primarily responsible for people we bring into this organization. Personally, I’m challenged by decisions that affect the team on a daily basis. We always try to do what’s best for the team. We’ll continue to do this and will work to do a better job going forward.”

[Related: Tom Brady gives first comments since Aaron Hernandez arrest]

After his opening statement, Belichick was very vague and answered very few questions. He said he has been advised to not speak about individuals who are involved in an ongoing investigation, but did give some insight when asked if the Patriots have looked into the claim that other football players visited Hernandez’s so-called “flop house.” He said the team has “absolutely done as much as we can” to gather information on that front.

Overall, I thought Belichick handled the situation well. He put his typical arrogance aside and delivered an adequate opening statement. While saying he has been advised to not speak about individuals who are involved in an ongoing investigation will be seen as a copout, it’s smart. Regardless of how compelling the evidence is against Hernandez, his trial has yet to even begin. Saying too much could get the team into trouble.

See all the LBS coverage of the Aaron Hernandez murder

Bill Belichick is vacationing in Italy during Aaron Hernandez murder drama

Bill-Belichick-hoodieBill Belichick has not provided any comment on the ongoing Aaron Hernandez murder investigation, and we would not expect him to. For starters, the investigation is still in progress. The NFL would not want anyone commenting about it in detail, but we know Belichick would take that to another level. But to make matters easier, the New England Patriots coach has been out of the country since the story broke.

According to the NY Post, Belichick was spotted at a train station in Venice, Italy with his girlfriend Linda Holliday on Friday. The couple has reportedly been traveling through Italy and stopping at various locations. Talk about convenient.

Many of you will be quick to accuse Belichick of hiding from a major organizational scandal, but he was reportedly out of the country when Hernandez’s name first arose in connection with the murder. That includes when Hernandez went to the Patriots facility before he was arrested and was told he is not allowed there anymore.

Nevertheless, I’m sure Belichick is pleased with the way the timing worked out. He had his hands full with all the Tim Tebow questions before any major news surfaced about Hernandez, and he was already getting cranky about that. Reporters are going to pepper Belichick with questions about Hernandez when he returns from Europe, but allow me to answer for him.

“We’re only worried about players who are with our team.”

Yeah, that about covers it.

See all the LBS coverage of the Aaron Hernandez murder

Bill Belichick: We’re not going to give minute-by-minute Tim Tebow updates

Tim-Tebow-PatriotsFor the second straight day on Wednesday, Bill Belichick refused to provide any detailed analysis or insight on the Tim Tebow signing. Belichick has made it clear right from the start that he is not going to feed the media with the Tebow information that they crave, which is sure to result in less buzz going forward.

On Tuesday at his introductory minicamp press conference, Belichick used a combination of about 10 words to answer a couple dozen questions about Tebow. The next day brought more of the same.

“I think everybody out there is pretty much in the same boat: just trying to get better day by day,” Belichick told reporters at practice on Wednesday. “Some guys are starting at different points; he’s obviously starting at a point different than where other players were. They’re all moving along. Guys that are out there are making progress. Guys that aren’t are doing what they can do and they’re falling behind.”

Belichick added that it is difficult to evaluate a player after one day — not that he would share his evaluation anyway — before taking a more clear stance regarding Tebow questions.

“Like I said, we’re not going to get into a minute-by-minute evaluation of a player,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the way to go, especially at this time of year.”

Eventually, most of the reporters will stop showing up. Tebowmania is certainly a real thing, but if the team’s coach won’t talk about him and Tebow isn’t allowed to speak to the media news stations and magazines are wasting their time and resources. Andy Hart of Patriots Football Weekly noted on Wednesday that there were a lot less cameras and reporters at Belichick’s press conference already. Make no mistake about it — Belichick will get his way when it comes to stopping the media frenzy.

Bill Belichick: Report I hate Tim Tebow is untrue, baseless

Bill Belichick hoodieNot long after Tim Tebow was released by the New York Jets, there was some speculation that the New England Patriots could be interested in signing him. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been complimentary of Tebow in the past, and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels traded up to draft Tebow when he was head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Based on those two items, it made sense to figure the Pats could be interested in Tebow. But Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver quickly killed all the speculation by reporting that “organizational sources” say the Patriots coach “hates” Tebow as a player. Belichick says it is inaccurate to say that he hates Tebow and the possibility of signing him.

Belichick was reached by ESPN Boston’s Field Yates and denied that is how he feels about Tebow.

“I wouldn’t get into the probability of us pursuing any free agent,” Belichick told Yates. “Every single player has strengths and weaknesses but regardless of that, for anyone to have represented that is the way I feel about Tim Tebow is completely untrue, baseless and irresponsible. It is unfortunate that something so inaccurate was reported.”

If Yates solely asked Belichick to respond to the report that he “hates” Tebow, then he wasn’t asking the proper question. Silver’s report says Belichick hates Tebow as a player, not as a person. Those are two different questions to ask.

And while “hate” is a very strong word, and maybe too strong of a word for the situation, I’m guessing Belichick really isn’t too interested in signing Tebow, regardless of what he says. It seems like most NFL teams aren’t too interested in signing Tebow.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk