FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick doesn’t discount the emotional side of a well-liked and highly-regarded player being excised from the roster on Wednesday.
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But when I asked about the toll on a team when a Richard Seymour, Lawyer Milloy or Jamie Collins is let loose, Belichick answered as if it was being intimated that “star” players are the only ones that matter.
“Unfortunately that’s part of this business and I’m sure a lot of you don’t want to take into consideration other moves that are made on the roster but they affect everybody,” said Belichick. “So it might be a guy that isn’t a big guy on your radar but to his roommate or to a teammate that’s very close to him it is a big move and so I recognize that, I understand that, I appreciate that, but again, in the end my responsibility is to the football team. It’s not to an individual player so I make the decision that I make based on what I feel like is best for the team. It’s not a personal decision, it’s a team decision. If it was a personal decision then there’d be a lot of decisions that would be different. But that’s not my job. My obligation is to all of the players; not just to a single individual.
“I know you want to focus on the bigger names if you will, which is fine,” Belichick continued. “I understand that. But all of the players are important to me. They’re important to their teammates. They’re important to the organization and anything that affects any individual on the team is important. Not just to three or four we want to single out because of whatever their star power is. I’m not minimizing that but things affect all of the players on the team; not just the few names that are mentioned.”
The question wasn’t meant as a swipe at bottom-of-the-roster guys. Personally, I felt it was too bad that A.J. Derby got traded last week.
In Collins’ case the emotional toll goes beyond merely missing a guy that’s well-liked and has been around a while.
The emotional toll also includes wondering how your professional life is impacted by the departure of a player regarded by some as the best defender on the team and by nearly all as its best athlete. It can make a guy wonder just how secure he is which, by the way, may be an unintended (or intended) consequence of the Collins deal.
Mentioning this to Belichick on redirect, he answered, “Well, again I think all of the players are important.”
No one suggested he thought otherwise.