Patriots

Belichick reacts to AB incident, details Pats' mental health philosophy

Patriots

If there's any silver lining from Antonio Brown's bizarre sideline spat with Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it's that the incident brought mental health back into the conversation.

After Brown took off his shoulder pads and undershirt and ran off the field in the middle of Sunday's game against the New York Jets, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians both said they hope the wide receiver gets the help he needs.

On Monday morning, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick -- who employed Brown for two weeks early in the 2019 season -- was asked about his team's approach to handling mental health issues in the wake of Brown's outburst.

What led to Brown's sideline tantrum? Reported details emerge

"Yeah, that’s important for all of us," Belichick said of mental health on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show." "We have a number of people who are involved in one way or another in that area -- certainly our medical staff, but there’s an awareness from other people in the organization, coaches and other staff members and so forth."

Belichick said the Patriots have a specific process for helping players handle mental health issues and implied that process was used last season.

"Each one of us is different, each one of us is unique and we try to have a team structure and we have to work individually with guys as stuff comes up," Belichick said. "We’ve had players last year, a situation where -- look, there's multiple situations, but where things come up where we can be helpful, we try to do that."

 

Belichick didn't get into specifics about Brown's situation, though.

"I didn’t really see what happened yesterday. This isn’t about that," Belichick continued. "It’s just in general that’s how we try to handle the mental health side of it. It’s very important, and it’s something everybody’s very aware of.

"We talk about it on a pretty regular basis. Football players are tough. They like to block out and try to block out distractions, and things that could affect them on the football field. But at the same time, you’ve got to live your life and deal with other things. So, it’s trying to find that balance."

Brown has burned many bridges both on and off the field over the last several years, and it's possible his NFL career is over after his latest incident. Regardless of what happens to Brown, though, Sunday was a reminder that players' mental health is just as important as their physical health.