The Prodigal Son has returned! And no fatted calf for him because Dad is PISSED!!
Monday morning’s conference call with reporters revealed an aggressively cranky Bill Belichick. This was an anomaly (even though people who are never actually on these conference calls will tell you it's the norm) and it’s noteworthy that his dark mood dovetailed with Tom Brady’s return
A theory on that? After a month stuck with backup quarterbacks and an afternoon watching sad-sack, turned-back ref Pete Morelli bumble around while Belichick’s defense did the same, Belichick isn’t going to ease into Cleveland week.
The f******* around is over. No more talking about how this guy’s shoulder feels and wondering if he can throw at practice and whether too much or not enough is being put on the plate of the other guy.
Brady’s back and life just got easier and harder at the same time.
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The league got its ounce of flesh in the form of the Bills win on Sunday. Rex Ryan got to doofus around all week and walk out of Gillette having shut out the Patriots at home for the first time in the stadium’s history. Now, the celebratory tone accompanying the end of the four-game suspension that will be carried into the facility like a virus will completely miss the damn point, in Belichick’s eyes.
As Belichick will see it, nobody should be celebrating Tom Brady’s return. He should have never been gone. Whatever nonsense he was engaged in with John Jastremski and Jim McNally that included McNally being plied with merchandise lifted from the equipment room was more than enough to cause the front of the league office’s pants to rise. Even if Brady didn’t understand that certain league officials would use any excuse to prosecute the Patriots and that what they couldn’t prove they would make up, Belichick did.
You live, you learn, you get framed, punished and pilloried then, when the time avails itself, you begin to pay it all back. The 20 months of unmitigated BS.
That starts Monday morning and I wouldn’t be surprised if -- instead of a warm embrace -- Brady got nothing but a terse nod from his head coach and a directive to go work out with strength coach Moses Cabrera and head trainer Jim Whalen to see just how fit he kept himself.
Once that test is passed, it will be on to Cleveland -- a winless, rudderless franchise -- and a week of preparation that will probably look like this.
Sunday, after Jacoby Brissett scrambled in the red zone, got sawed in half and fumbled away what turned out to be the Patriots best scoring chance, Belichick made his way over to Brissett.
He leaned in, spoke to Brissett briefly, then straightened up and patted Brissett’s thigh with what looked to be “hang-in-there” warmth.
That Bill Belichick is going to be gone for a while. The real season starts now.