ORLANDO – Arriving fashionably late (as always) to the annual AFC Coaches Breakfast, Bill Belichick threw down his Florida Gators visor and, with a slight grin, welcomed the overflowing crowd of media surrounding his table. He was, as always, the most sought-after quote at the AFC gathering.
First topic of discussion was a predictable one: the signing of All-Pro cornerback
“I think he’ll help our team,” the head coach began. “He’s a good player, does a lot of things well, looking forward to working with him.”
Belichick was asked if he expected Revis to become available this off-season (he was eventually released by his former club, Tampa Bay) or if that was an audible the team called once free agency began.
“We thought he was a potential release, but we didn’t know that. They could’ve kept him, but they didn’t, so when they didn’t… you never know exactly how free agency is gonna go, there’s always twists and turns. We’ll see how it comes together with us, what his role is, and how exactly he fits in our scheme and so forth. We’ll just have to see how that comes together, I mean I don’t know.”
Belichick also touched on the signing of another corner,
“I’m glad we were able to work things out with Julian. It’s been an on-going process, glad it was resolved. [He’s a] good player who is versatile, does a lot of different things for us, works hard, he’s tough, and he’s developed all the way through our system. He came in not as a receiver, not as a punt returner, [but] he’s developed into being pretty good at both those things, so, glad to be able to keep him.
“[LaFell] was a productive player in Carolina, had some skills that we liked when he was coming out of LSU, we’ll see how it goes… obviously felt he was a good player and that’s why we signed him.”
“That’s something you have to talk to Vince about. I’m not gonna talk about anything with any of our specific players, I’m not gonna get into that,” he stated, adding a cautionary, “You need to talk to him about any of those statements. I think you should verify first.”
The final free-agent-related question of the morning revolved around two players who left the Patriots and comments they made subsequently. Cornerback Aqib Talib (now with Denver) and linebacker Brandon Spikes (a Buffalo Bill today) both have said publicly since their departures that they had experienced a different type of injury-reporting protocol while in New England.
Belichick’s response was terse and to the point.
“I don’t agree with that. No. Never.”
And when a reporter asked about the health status of All-Pro tight end
“Are you seriously asking that question?!”
The tension was broken later, though, when another reporter asked why he didn’t appear in the annual photo featuring every head coach, both AFC and NFC at the start of the meetings on Monday.
“Yeah, I missed it… maybe you can Photoshop me in there,” he grinned.
Coming soon, Belichick’s full remarks about the four rules change proposals he submitted to the Competition Committee this year.