Despite a recent report citing Bill Belichick's frustration with Patriots ownership and Tom Brady, the coach says he "absolutely" intends to be with the Patriots in 2018.
ESPN reported last week that Belichick was "furious" and "demoralized," particularly after a reported meeting with owner Robert Kraft during which the two allegedly discussed the organization's future at the quarterback position. In that meeting, ESPN reported, Belichick was given a "mandate" to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Asked about the report, Belichick said, "I haven’t read the article. I’ve already commented at length about that situation. Nothing has happened since then, so I don’t have anything to add to it."
The Patriots released a joint statement between Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and Tom Brady on Friday saying, "For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship. In recent days, there have been multiple media reports that have speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate."
Asked if he was as upset about the reported meeting as ESPN indicated, Belichick was dismissive.
"We've been through this before," he said, "and I know you want to report on things that are inaccurate and unattributable and I’m not really interested in responding to all of those random and, I would say in a lot of cases, baseless comments."
As far as Brady is concerned, Belichick explained that his quarterback's preparations for the Titans will begin with the rest of his teammates on Monday. To that end, he's expecting more of the same.
"Tom always prepares well," Belichick said. "He’s one of the hardest working players on the team. He’s had a long history of that. He’s very diligent in his preparation."
Part of ESPN's report included a note that Belichick had indicated to friends that a situation in which ownership was involved in personnel decisions was unsustainable. The New York Daily News reported on Friday that those around Belichick believed he saw an opening to coach the Giants, his former employer.
When asked about the Giants opening, Belichick said that his total focus was on getting the Patriots prepared to see the Titans in the Divisional Round.
"Right now my interest is trying to do the best I can for our football team to get ready for Saturday night against Tennessee," he said. "That’s where my total focus is."
When asked if it was his intention to coach the Patriots next season, Belichick quickly gave his definitive one-word response.