Patriots

Belichick on Gronkowski: Not the best time to make career decisions

Belichick on Gronkowski: Not the best time to make career decisions

MINNEAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick knows as well as anyone what the aftermath of a Super Bowl is like. Between his time with the Giants and the Patriots, he's coached in 11, which amounts to 21.2 percent of all Super Bowls and 34.4 percent of Super Bowls since his first in 1986.

It's emotional. Players, coaches and staff members start to reflect. But, in Belichick's opinion, it's not the best time to make any significant career choices.

Asked on Monday's conference call about tight end Rob Gronkowski, who did not totally shoot down the possibility of retirement after losing Super Bowl 52 to the Eagles, Belichick preached patience.

"At the end of every season, every person goes through somewhat of process at the end of the season and then the following season," Belichick said. "I think everyone that's involved in an NFL season, you get pretty drained, especially after a season like this. You go through the end-of-the-year process and the following year is the following year.

"It's the same for everybody. I certainly can't speak for anyone else. You'd have to ask any individual about their particular situation, but I would say five minutes after the game or the day after the game is not really the best time to make those decisions."

When it was posed to him that a rumor was swirling that he may retire, Gronkowski said on Sunday night: "I don’t know how you heard that but I’m definitely going to look at my future, for sure. I'm going to sit down the next couple weeks and see where I'm at."

2020 NFL Draft: Prototypical Patriots fits at cornerback

2020 NFL Draft: Prototypical Patriots fits at cornerback

When it comes to drafted defensive backs, the Patriots have largely taken athletes who have tested very well — whether it was at the combine or at their pro days.

But this year, it's harder than ever to know exactly where certain prospects fall on the athleticism spectrum.

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With a drastically different schedule at the combine, laid out for prime-time television, many players opted to skip certain portions of the athletic tests. Others skipped them altogether, thinking they'd have a chance to record numbers at their pro days. 

Now that those pro days are wiped out, we're dealing with less information than usual at this time of year. Still, we can try to peg Patriots fits based on their heights and weights, their college résumés and the programs from which they hail. Here are the corners we've tabbed this offseason as "prototypes" for New England.

Click here for the gallery.

Ex-Patriots exec Scott Pioli tells great Tom Brady story from Super Bowl LI

Ex-Patriots exec Scott Pioli tells great Tom Brady story from Super Bowl LI

Scott Pioli has experienced the incredible joys of winning a Super Bowl and the frustration of losing a Super Bowl thanks to Tom Brady.

Pioli was a front office executive with the New England Patriots from 2000 until he left to join the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. The Patriots won three Super Bowl titles in four appearances in Pioli's time in Foxboro, and he helped build the rosters that were so successful over that period.

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He also was an assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons from 2014 to 2019, and it was during this time he witnessed the best game of Brady's career. Unfortunately for the longtime NFL exec, it happened against his Falcons. We're of course talking about Super Bowl LI, where the Patriots miraculously pulled of a 34-28 comeback win in overtime after trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter.

Pioli made an appearance on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" midday show Tuesday, and he told a great story about how high-ranking scouts and front office people from the Falcons were feeling quite confident at halftime with Atlanta leading, 21-3. Pioli, based on his many years watching and working with Brady, knew better than to celebrate too early. And he wasn't shy about letting his coworkers know that. 

Listen to his Brady story in the video below:

The joy on the Falcons sideline quickly evaporated as Brady led the Patriots on five consecutive scoring drives in arguably the greatest performance in Super Bowl history. The Falcons have yet to recover from this heartbreaking loss. After losing in the NFC Divisional Round the following the season, Atlanta has missed the playoffs in back-to-back years. 

The Falcons scouts, execs and other employees who celebrated early got a painful reminder that, unless time has run out, you cannot let up at all when Brady is on the opposing team.