Patriots

Belichick says his relationships with Brady, Kraft are 'great'

Belichick says his relationships with Brady, Kraft are 'great'

Bill Belichick joined WEEI for his weekly interview on Monday and said that his relationships with the Patriots quarterback and owner are "great." That would be in direct opposition to a report that came out last week from ESPN indicating that this could be Belichick's last season with the Patriots because of souring relationships with Tom Brady and Robert Kraft. 

Belichick insisted he hasn't read the report, but he'd heard enough about it to refute its claims.

"Eighteen years with Tom and 22 with Robert. Been great," he told WEEI's afternoon drive program with Dale Arnold, Michael Holley and Rich Keefe. "Appreciate everything Robert's done for me, the support. Been pretty lucky to have Tom as a quarterback for 18 years, playing for 17, but 18. He's a great player to coach, and he's done a lot for this team. He's been a huge help to me, personally. I have a great relationship with both Robert and Tom, and I'd throw in there, since it was part of the article, I feel like I have a good relationship with Alex, too."

That last line, of course, is in reference to Brady's business partner at TB12 Sports Therapy Center Alex Guerrero. 

"I respect Alex, and I think I have a good professional relationship with him," Belichick added. "I can't speak for him, but I think he would say the same thing."

Guerrero's access to the Patriots on road trips and during games has changed since the start of the season, and according to the ESPN article, some believe Guerrero may have tried to create a rift in the Patriots locker room complaining to players about his access to the team being altered. 

"We have relationships with a lot of people in the medical area," Belichick said when asked why Guerrero's access had changed. "Lots of consultants. Lots of specialists. Lots of people that do many different things. We try to have working relationships with multiple individuals, multiple groups in multiple areas, and we try to structure those the best that we can."

During his interview, Belichick shot down the idea that he may be elsewhere in 2018, as he did on a conference call earlier in the day. And he did his best to knock down any notes made in the piece that were attributed to anonymous sources.

"None of those statements are attributable to anything," he said. "They're all just anonymous quotes, and I'm not even going to give credability to those anonymous quotes by denying them."

He did comment on one assertion made in the ESPN article: He did not, as the article notes, meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week during the Patriots' bye before postseason play. 

"That's absolutely not true," he said. "The last time I saw the commissioner was before our game against Oakland in Mexico City. He was on the sideline. I saw him before the game. We wished each other well. That's the last time I saw him."

The ESPN story noted that Belichick and Goodell had become "good friends."

"I don't know what that means," he said. "Again, I'm not gonna reply to each individual anonymous quote. Somebody wants to put their name on something and talk about it, I'd consider that. But for every anonymous opinion and quote that's out there, I don't feel the need to reply to all of those by any means."

Belichick added: "I haven't read the story. A number of the points certainly are inaccurate. I'm not gonna acknowledge a point-by-point discussion that are anonymously attributed to nobody and random opinions that are unsubstantiated. If we want to do something that has some credibility to it that's one thing. I don't see that."

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2020 NFL Pro Bowl live stream: Watch Skills Showdown online

2020 NFL Pro Bowl live stream: Watch Skills Showdown online

New England Patriots fans haven't had much reason to watch the NFL Pro Bowl in recent seasons, but 2020 is different.

Patriots players haven't participated in the Pro Bowl in each of the last three years because they were playing in the Super Bowl and thus not allowed to take part in the league's version of an All-Star Game.

The Patriots were eliminated from the AFC playoffs on Wild Card Weekend, giving the team's three Pro Bowl selections (cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and special teams ace Matthew Slater) the opportunity to participate in this season's game. Hightower was ruled out due to injury, but Gilmore and Slater are expected to play.

Gilmore also will feature in Thursday night's 2020 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown. The event is basically football's version of NBA Saturday night, which includes the Skills Challenge, the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-Point Shootout.

Here's the information you need to watch Gilmore compete in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown.

When: Thursday, Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live stream: WatchESPN

Gilmore reveals his Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl prediction

Could this former Patriots receiver's son be the next Patriots receiver?

Could this former Patriots receiver's son be the next Patriots receiver?

One way to get a feel for just how long Bill Belichick has been head coach in New England? Players who were kicking around the league in the early portion of Belichick's Patriots tenure have children Belichick has the opportunity to draft in April. 

Last week we touched on the fact that Randy Moss has a son entering the NFL Draft as a tight end out of LSU. Thaddeus Moss could end up being a mid-to-late round option for a team in need of a tight end. 

This week? Another former Patriots receiver has a son who's putting on a show in Mobile, Ala. for this week's Senior Bowl. 

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Belichick never had a chance to coach Shawn Jefferson. The longtime NFL wideout with over 7,000 career receiving yards left the Patriots via free agency for the Falcons after four years in New England.

His first year with Atlanta, 2000, was Belichick's first as head coach of the Patriots. (The two did overlap in Foxboro in 1996, when Belichick coached defensive backs under Bill Parcells.)

But might Jefferson's son end up a Patriots draft target?

Van Jefferson, from the University of Florida, has been one of the most impressive performers at his position at this year's Senior Bowl. The week's practices — thoroughly covered and broadcast by NFL Media these days — has allowed Jefferson to put his nuanced skills on display against some of the best defensive backs in the country. 

After a strong showing on Tuesday in the week's first practice, Jefferson was one of the best pass-catchers on the field again Wednesday.

Despite lacking the athleticism of some of the others at his position who will be considered first-rounders this year — it's thought to be an incredibly deep class at receiver — Jefferson has made plays this week both down the field and at the intermediate level by understanding leverage and making contested catches.

"He is a route technician on a level that has the corners tripping over themselves," The Athletic's Dane Brugler wrote this week. "And it is tough to blame them because they haven’t faced many players at the college level with Jefferson’s detailed patterns. Instead of pure speed, he relies on pace, tempo and purpose, making every step matter and tying defenders in knots."

Jefferson spent three years at Ole Miss before transferring to Florida. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder finished his collegiate career with 2,159 yards and 16 touchdowns. He caught 49 passes for 657 yards and six scores in his final season.

Belichick and his coaching staff are in Mobile for college football's premier postseason all-star game. Perhaps what they see from the Florida wideout with some Patriots connections will push them to consider him on draft weekend to bolster a receiving corps that needed all the help it could get this season.

Or not. Jefferson's father is currently assistant head coach and receivers coach for the Jets.