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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

Belichick Press Conference

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick spoke to the press immediately following the announcement by the NFL to cancel the games scheduled to take place in week 2 of the regular season.



            **BB:** Sorry for the delay in the schedule, but I thought it would be best to find out what the news was before we started talking about it. We were just informed of the league's decision. I think that given all of the circumstances and the situations involved I think everybody fully understands why we did what we did and we are supportive of it. What we are going to do is we are going to take the next two days, Friday and Saturday, I understand Friday is the national day of mourning. We are closing our offices, were closing business down here for the 48 hours, but I told the players and the coaches that this would be a time for us to reflect and grieve and then try to put it behind us. We will bring the players back in ready to go to work on Tuesday. That will be our first full day of preparation for the Jets. We may do a little light running on Monday, just to get the blood flowing. That's our schedule for the week. We stopped our preparations for Carolina once we found out the news of the change in plans.  

Q: What's Sunday, are the players going to come in?
BB: No.

Q: Players have the next three days?
BB: Well we have the injured players that will get treatment.

Q: Are they free right now?
BB: Yes.

BB: Also I just wanted to comment on the decision that came from the arbitrator on Terry [Glenn] in regards to the five day letter. I wasn't surprised or disappointed by that decision. I had a situation in training camp and I felt that I followed the rules that were in place at the time and made a decision based on what I felt was in the best interest of our football team. As the decision came down yesterday it is now a different point in time. We will certainly abide by it and comply with it. When Terry is able to return to the team and I'm not sure exactly when that is based on today's events, but whenever that is we will resume working with him and he will resume working with the team. That is really about as much as I feel like I can say about it. There are still some other proceedings pending in this case. Some I'm involved in, some I'm not, but nevertheless I think that is probably about as far as I can go at this point.

Q: You have made a lot of effort to build the team chemistry this year, are you worried about Terry coming back and ruining the chemistry that you built?
BB: As I said before I don't have any preset notions as to how the teammates are going to interact. However that happens, it happens. I can't control it. So I don't know.

Q: Have you thought about what his situation will be when he comes back?
BB: No I have not. My thought was on Carolina and now it will be on the Jets. In the meantime we can't do anything with it. The rules prohibit Terry from being here and we will comply with those rules. So until that situation comes a lot closer, really nothing has changed.

Q: Did the ruling just deal with the suspension?
BB: The only thing the ruling dealt with was the five-day letter and that's it.

Q: Roster-wise how does it effect you. Do you have to cut somebody?
BB: No, right now Terry is serving his suspension that was imposed by the NFL.

Q: When he gets back?
BB: I am not sure. It could go a couple of different ways, really depending on what the Commissioner rules.

Q: Meaning week 4 or game 4?
BB: Well I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question. It is not our decision. I don't know the answer to that question. I do know that in most cases, but not all, in most cases the Commissioner will grant an exemption for a player who has come back after an extended period of absence, but that has to be applied for, it has to be granted and we have done neither. So that is something that is down the road. Again I don't even know what dates we are talking about.

Q: Will you welcome him back?
BB: I would rather not answer any further questions, it is not a personal thing at all, it's nothing about that, I just don't think that I want to get into any other comments regarding the whole situation because there are still other things pending. I really don't want to be on the record.

Q: A lot of players said they understand the NFL's decision, but did you sense that they were maybe a little bit relieved?
BB: I'd say that's fair. I don't know that's a tough one though. It wasn't that they didn't want to play. I wouldn't characterize it that way, but there are bigger issues than a football game. I think that probably would have been in the back of some of their minds, maybe all of them. I can't speak for them.

Q: How do you feel, do you think things should go on?
BB: I can see both sides of it. It is not a really a decision that I was thinking a lot about. I was thinking more about preparing the team for Carolina. I understand why it was made and I support it.

Q: How hard was it to prepare through all of this?
BB: There were some distracting events.

BB: I'd put it this way, I think when you are by yourself sometimes it is a little bit harder to concentrate then, for example this morning when I was talking to the quarterbacks and we were going over things we were talking about things that Carolina was doing, their coverages, their personnel and what plays we were going to call and that kind of thing. We weren't talking about hijacked planes, but I think when you are by yourself it is probably natural for those thoughts to enter your mind and for you to give it some consideration.

Q: When you and your staff were preparing this week, when you were here, was it a normal week?
BB: I don't think Tuesday was normal, no. Tuesday as the news continued to come in about the events, as there was more information given I think there was certainly a heightened concern. Particularly given our proximity to all of the incidents. The flights from Logan, a number of people in this area have some sort of connection to New York or know people that work in New York or in Washington for that matter. A number of our players are from the West Coast, I mean we have flown on that Flight 163, Flight 11 or whatever it was. I mean they have been on it, I have been on it. I have been on Flight 11. That hits a little closer to you then maybe if you didn't have some of those connections or if they weren't as close.

Q: Did you send people home early Tuesday or did you go home earlier than usual?
BB: Yes, I did. I went home Tuesday, spent some time with my kids while they were still up and then I did a little work after they went to bed. I thought it was important to see them.

Q: Do you have any insight as to what the league is thinking in regards to rescheduling these games or do you have any preference?
BB: I don't have any insight at all. I understand what some of the issues are and I am sure that that's why there is no clean decision. As I understand it there is one week between the championship games and the Super Bowl this year. So if there was another week in there maybe that would be easier to reschedule and maybe we could move them back, maybe there is something to do with the bye weeks I am not sure what all of the options are. I am sure that is what they are considering. Whatever they do will probably be the thing that is most fair and the best for everybody.

Q: Are Roman Phifer and Greg Robinson Randall going to stay where they are given the travel situation?
BB: I talked to both players last night and then we had people in the organization talk to them today and their plans were, because of the uncertainty of flying and the unavailability of flying that they were going to start to make progress to Carolina as their destination either by car, bike or foot whatever. I told them to be closer today then they were yesterday and closer tomorrow then they were today. We got back in touch with them a few minutes ago and now are trying to do basically do the same thing, but to work them back towards Boston rather than the Charlotte destination.

Q: A couple of bus rides…
BB: Yes and as you might expect that is a lot easier said then done. The trains are full, the travel agents I am sure have people backed up forever on lists. Bus transportation isn't that easy either. We did have a couple of players that were flying from relatively close over the pass weekend and ended up driving 10, 12, 13 hours whatever it was and got back that way. It is a little further than that from California, but I think we can expect them here by Monday.

Q: Are the players going to stay here?
BB: I think it is important for the players to spend time with their families and their loved ones now and I think they should do that and I think that it is important to them and the people that they would be supporting. It is pretty obvious that traveling now is not going to be too predictable. So I encouraged them to stay as close as they possibly could or make plans to be here by Sunday. If you travel, travel by car.

Q: There is lots of security in the league as it is, but do you think that the ramifications of all of this will cause the league to dwarf their current procedures and really clamp down?
BB: That's a good question. On the one hand I am tempted to say no because I do feel like a lot of security procedures are in place and we talk about with people that we travel with directly and also the security people on the road, police escorts all of those kinds of things. A lot of that is already in place. On the other hand is there anything that we could do that is a little more secure there probably is and I am sure that we will take a little extra time to talk about those things and see what more we can do or how maybe we can do what we are doing a little bit better. I do think that we do a pretty good job, at least we try to do a pretty good job of having security in all of our travel, but this kind of opens a new door to it. We have talked about revisiting it particularly in the upcoming Carolina trip, but as we move forward from there.

Q: Who are the two players that had to drive back?
BB: Marty Moore and Je'Rod Cherry.

Q: In terms of Terry you mentioned that there were other issues can you elaborate?
BB: Not really. I think if you read the papers, it's in there.

Q: Will it effect your willingness to bring him back?
BB: No, no it is not about that. It is just about the fact that there are still open issues.

Q: Have you talked to Terry?
BB: No.

Q: Have you talked to Robert Kraft and his feeling about the NFL decision?
BB: I have talked to Mr. Kraft, but I think those are questions that you can ask him. I know that he has been involved in the process, as I am sure all of the NFL owners have, but I'd rather not speak for him. I think he could give you his views.

Q: In terms of conversation between you and Terry, who reaches out between you and Terry?
BB: As it currently stands right now Terry is on suspension by the league and there are certain rules and restrictions that go with that suspension. So one thing I want to try to do at all costs is abide by and comply with those rules and regulations.

Q: So the team is off the rest of today, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and a light run on Monday?
BB: Right

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