Belichick Talks About His Players

The Patriots' head coach has been seen at a number of local events this offseason. His contributions to the community go largely unnoticed by the national media, yet it's these same pundits who feel it's their right to say the team hates him, when they report on his coaching style. Here's some of Belichick's comments about former and current players. Vince Wilfork also chimes in on Ty Law and Keith Traylor.

PHOTO: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick looks on from the sidelines during a game against the San Francsico 49ers in Foxboro, Mass., in this Nov. 2, 2005 photo. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Belichick Speaks
By Staff

--A standing ovation said it all. Two actually. When Bill Belichick was announced as the featured speaker at the Big Brothers of Massachusetts Bay Big Brother of the Year event and fundraiser, the nearly 550 people in attendance rose in unison to salute the three-time Super Bowl winning coach. They did the same at the conclusion of his 16-minute speech that draw laughs and applause throughout.

Belichick, the man once vilified in Cleveland, is revered in New England, and was at ease in speaking to the group about the importance of mentors, preparation, decision-making, leadership and teamwork, the very elements that make up the foundation of the Patriots success.

"Leadership is one word on the Patriots," Belichick said. "Attitude. Everybody who is part of a team, if he brings a good attitude, shows leadership. I haven't been around a better leader in 30 years in the NFL than Troy Brown, and he would never stand up in front of the team and give a speech. It's just not what he does. But he always comes in prepared and ready to help the team. He'll do anything you ask him to do for the good of the team - play defensive back, return punts, whatever. He'll do it for the good of the team and that's a leader."

Belichick tied his leadership and teamwork themes into the Big Brothers organization by essentially saying size doesn't matter. "It could be a team of two (like with big brother-little brother relationship) or a team of 53. Leadership is leadership." And Belichick obviously knows a thing or two about that subject. He said that his mentors were Navy football players like Heisman Trophy winners Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach and current Navy admirals Tom Lynch and John Stufflebeem -- strong leaders in their own right and people that made solid decisions in their lives.

"There are only two things that anyone has: name and reputation. It's not style. I mean, look at me," he joked in reference to the hooded gray sweatshirt he his famous for wearing on game day. "It's not what car you drive or what watch you wear. Think about our team. You think about Adam Vinatieri, you think clutch. Tom Brady? Poise. Willie McGinest? Tough. Mike Vrabel? Versatile. Corey Dillon? Dependable. Troy Brown? Team player. Tedy Bruschi? Energetic. All of those players earned that (reputation). You can't buy that."

Belichick also relayed the now famous story about the Patriots being announced as one before Super Bowl XXXVI. He explained how a league official came to him a few days before the game and asked who would be announced, the offense or defense. "I told him it didn't matter because our team was coming out all together," Belichick explained. "He said, 'I don't think you understand. This is the Super Bowl and we have it scripted so that either your offense or defense is announced. You need to pick one.' I said, 'I don't think you understand. You can do whatever you want, but our teams wants to come out all together as one team.' "And that's a moment every player dreams of -- getting their name called at the Super Bowl. But our guys passed that up to be announced as one. That was a strong statement."

On this night, Belichick's statements were strong as well as he congratulated all the finalists for the Massachusetts Bay Big Brother of the Year award. "You're the real champions here," he said.


-- WR Bethel Johnson appeared at Big Brothers of Massachusetts Bay charity event with a protective boot on his left foot while walking with the aid of a single crutch. As per team policy, Johnson did not comment on the nature of his injury.

-- Bill Belichick offered nothing new on the status of Tedy Bruschi besides saying that Bruschi is still at Gillette Stadium regularly. On a side note, Belichick received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Wesleyan University, last Sunday.

-- LB Roman Phifer remains unsigned, but coach Bill Belichick hasn't ruled out re-signing him. Since he's a veteran with a strong knowledge of the team's system, signing late would not preclude him from jumping immediately into the mix. Brown probably had a better chance of returning than Phifer given that New England has 17 linebackers on its current roster. But that number could change quickly.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think our defense can be a lot better. We missed Ty Law since the sixth game of the season last year and won without him. Randall Gay stepped up. Everybody in the secondary stepped up. I see myself filling Keith Traylor's shoes. We don't know the Tedy Bruschi situation so we have to prepare to play with him and without him. But that's what mini-camps and training camps are for." - defensive lineman Vince Wilfork

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