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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Belichick Press Conference

Bill Belichick speaks to the press from Foxboro the day following the tragedy on September 11, 2001. His comments touch heavily on the reaction of the team as a whole to the events and how it may affect their preparations for the upcoming games.



             **BB:** I think obviously everybody associated with the organization, especially for the players and the coaches, I think a lot of us were very affected by what happened yesterday. Just from a personal standpoint I know that a lot of us have either been on those flights or been in some of the locations that were struck yesterday and it really is a question of timing when you are there for some of those and when you are not. A lot of us have connections one way or the other with either policemen, firemen or people that worked in those localities that were friends, relatives or associates. I think it affected everybody on the team, particularly the players and the coaches in one way or another. I talked to the team about it this morning and I think what we need to do as a team is to be supportive of, obviously any of the people who were affected by the tragedy, but also supportive of our family and people who are concerned either about us, or for those of us who have children, our concern for them, their stability and what piece of mind we can bring.  

As far as the decision on this weekend I understand both sides of the issue. I was young, but I remember the situation with President Kennedy well. That had a big impact on me when I was, whatever I would have been, ten or eleven years old at that time. I understand what some of the factors are in trying to make that decision. Whatever it is we will certainly be supportive of it. In the meantime until that decision does get made we are going to spend our time trying to prepare for Carolina as much as we would normally do on a Wednesday and direct our attention to that. If that is the way we go then we will be prepared for it.

Q: Personally do you think that you should play?
BB: Again that is a tough one. I understand both sides of the issue about not letting them feel that, whoever did it, they are more disruptive then they have already been and life is going to carry on and on the other hand we are talking about a pretty significant tragedy here and I think that needs to be respected. I understand some of the issues, certainly not at the level where the decisions are being made. I have confidence in those people. I am sure that whatever they decide that they will weigh the options and do what they think is best.

Q: When you were eleven years old how did you feel about the NFL playing and AFL not playing?
BB: To tell you the truth I wasn't that concerned about the NFL and the AFL. I was more concerned about the Army-Navy game, which was scheduled to be played that weekend. Actually the year before in 1962 President Kennedy was in attendance at the game and we actually sat just several rows behind him, switched sides of the field at halftime. Being associated with the Naval Academy and with my father coaching on the team and so forth, it was a very emotional time anyway and then with the President and of course his connections with the military and the Army-Navy game it was a pretty emotional week. The decision was made to postpone the game for a week and still play it, but that's one of those that when you live through it you don't normally ever forget the event, but you don't ever forget sometimes the impact of the event. I couldn't even have told you what happened in the NFL, but I knew what happened as it affected my life as an eleven year old.

Q: Is there anybody in the organization, players or coaches, directly impacted, any immediately family involved?
BB: We do have a couple of people who have immediate family that were there or real close to being there, that type of thing. Yes. I know of a couple of those, I haven't talked to everybody, but it may extend beyond that. There were plenty of people that, I mean I have been on that Flight 11. I know plenty of people, our players that are on the West Coast have been on those West Coast flights and of course we have all flown out of Logan like you all have multiple times. In some respects it's just a roll of the dice. Any of us could have been on any of those flights, you never know.

Q: Do you spend extra amount of time talking about this to players, is that going to be more of the preparation this week besides?
BB: I think it might be. I addressed them this morning talking about the things that I thought affected them and really how it affected all of us. I mean we are in Boston, two of the flights were out of Logan you can't get much closer to home than that. I mean forget about all of the other things the relatives and the friends I mean everybody has got those. I tried to talk to them about it. I gave them what I thought were the perspectives that I had and at the same time left the door open as to maybe there is something that we can do. As a team if it is appropriate or if we feel it is appropriate we will do it. One of the things that I know a lot of our players were at this spring, I think we probably had at least ten maybe 12 players was at a dinner honoring the deceased members of the police and fire department in Boston, The 100 Club. Where those families were recognized and it was a fundraiser for them.

Q: Was that Worcester or Boston?
BB: It was in Boston, the 100 Club. As many people said there that night, those are the real heroes' people that are risking their lives to save others on a daily basis. People think of sports athletes as heroes, and politicians [as heroes'] or whatever, there are other people that get more notoriety or publicity, but those are the real heroes there that risk their lives on a daily basis to protect the rest of us in society and to lose your life in the line of duty like so many did yesterday in New York is about as tragic as you can get.

Q: Did you have any players that were out of town at the time and that cannot get back now?
BB: Yes we did. We had two. I talked to them both a couple of times yesterday as the events were unfolding. So they won't be coming back until the airports are at least open.

Q: Who are they?
BB: Greg Robinson Randall and Roman Phifer.

Q: Where are they?
BB: Greg is in Texas and Roman is in California. We had a couple of other players who were also out of town, but they drove back.

Q: How did Phifer get to California, did he take one of those flights on Monday morning, oh he left Monday night?
BB: Yes.

Q: Do you know of anyone specifically that has lost a loved one?
BB: I don't think it is appropriate for me to comment on that.

Q: With all that is going on, is hard to get 53 people prepared for event not sure is going to happen?
BB: Obviously it is a lot different, but similar, in that respect, it is similar to the '87 strike year where every week as a coaching staff we came to work with or in '82, I'm sorry not '87, in '82 we came to work with no players, but we came to work as a coaching staff broke down film, made game plans and all that for games that were cancelled on Thursday for seven or eight weeks. This is a totally different situation. To me this is more similar to the situation we had with Coach Rehbein where we lost someone very close to the team, part of the team. Again, I am not saying it is the same, but it is more of that kind of loss and more of that kind of grief then just the uncertainty of what is going to happen.

Q: A lot of people are anxious about flying, did you think that will be a problem when you travel again?
BB: I am sure there are going to be a number of security issues in terms of travel and games. When I was coaching with the Giants and we played in the 1990 Super Bowl in Tampa during the Gulf War, that is the most security I have ever seen for a game. We, even as team members went through two or three detectors, were searched going into the locker room, it was extremely tight. So that is the only game that I have ever been apart of that had that type of security. Now whether that's something that is going to be in the future…

Q: What about players being anxious to fly?
BB: I can't speak for everyone else, I mean I feel a little more anxious about it. I am sure everybody else does too.

Q: Do you guys fly out of Providence all the time?
BB: We went of Providence in preseason because of the convenience and now we go out of Logan.

BB: Yes, we have always gone out of Logan during the regular season and Providence during the preseason.

Q: That 1990 Super Bowl, with that great security presence there did that give you, the players and the coaches a greater sense of security or insecurity?
BB: I don't know seeing the snipers on top of our hotel and seeing the snipers in the stadium I don't know how secure that was. I guess it was more secure, it depends on what your point of view is, in some respects it is more secure then thinking where are they or at least you know they are up there, but what are they up there for.

Q: With 80,000 people in one place, the difficulty to control all 80,000 people does that increase the fear, did you feel terrified?
BB: The way I personally look at it is I really only feel like I can control what I control. Lightening could strike in the Tampa game down there and who knows anything can happen. You try to take precautions, but you still have to, life goes on. I just don't feel like you can go hold for the rest of your life, but I think that precautions are in order and you certainly want sense of security and I am sure that everybody wants as much security as they can reasonably expect to get.

Q: Did any of the players this morning express concern about flying out of Logan?
BB: Nobody has expressed it outwardly, but I am sure that we have players that are concerned about it. I probably have concerns about, you are probably looking at one.

Q: Is it a possibility that emotionally some of the players may not want to play because of personal reasons?
BB: I can't really speak for anybody else. I just don't know what another persons emotions are, I can just say personally that I think this puts things into perspective a little bit. It is bigger then just everyday life.

Q: Might some people have suffered personal losses that might effect that?
BB: I am sure some guys are going to be affected by it more than others let's put it that way. I don't think there is any question about that. Whether it is a coincidence or a circumstance or a personal connection to it, I am sure that it is not going to be the same for all of the players on our team or probably for any other team. It's funny I talked to my Dad last night, of course when he had just got out of college and was playing professional that year in '41 when Pearl Harbor was bombed he went through a similar, as a player, a similar situation although the games were over at that point, the season didn't go into January like it does now. Just listening to him talk a little bit about what it was like in '41. What the feelings were like, of course Hawaii was a lot further away then Manhattan or Washington, DC, but everybody draws that comparison and I can see why.

Q: From a personal standpoint are you finding it hard to work this morning and being here would you rather be somewhere else?
BB: Good question, I think the place where I could do the most good is with my family and my children that don't really understand what's going on and security is always something that kids are concerned about. Again I can remember when I was a kid sitting in the front of the TV, I was nine or ten years old, sitting in front of the TV listening to the Cuban Missile Crisis I mean I thought it was all over. I didn't know. Sixty miles away from Florida and there's the missiles and you figure they are aimed right for your house. I know what that feeling is like to think about your country being at war and as a kid not really understanding and having some insecurity. So I think that is probably where I could do the most good. I think that is maybe where other people in our organization, or players could do the most good with their families. To support them or reassure them or if their was somebody that had a personal tragedy a friend, an associate or a relative to try to support them like you normally would do in times that are trying.

Q: Do you think you will play on Sunday?
BB: I really don't know.

Q: Is it possible to put in a game plan because it requires so much study on your players part and your part with all of the information that is coming our of New York and Washington, DC can you really expect to install a game plan under the circumstances?
BB: We talked about that last night and we all collectively agreed that let's simplify it because we know there is going to be some distractions, there is going to be some other issues if we are playing Sunday then we need to keep fewer variables out there. Let's do the things that we know how to do, let's concentrate on them. I think just from a football standpoint we need to do that a little bit anyway based on last week's game, but given the circumstances sometimes when you play Thanksgiving week or Christmas week a lot of times you take the same approach because you know that there are other things going on. They are just there so sometimes it is better to do the things you know how to do, not try to get into a lot of things that have variations or that are new and try to fall back on your basics a little bit. I think that is something that we definitely would do this week from a preparation standpoint.

Q: What about the Terry Glenn situation?
BB: I have not heard. My understanding is that because the parties involved were linked to Washington and New York that, that all got put on the back burner.

Q: You mentioned that Roman was in California, is he in LA?
BB: Yes, he's in LA

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