Bill Belichick's reputation still precedes him.
Leonard Fournette became a free agent Tuesday after the Jacksonville Jaguars surprisingly waived their star running back. If you follow the Patriots, you know what came next: speculation about New England swooping in to sign Fournette for pennies on the dollar.
The Patriots were even listed as co-betting favorites to sign Fournette at some sportsbooks as of Tuesday. But NFL Media's Mike Giardi tossed a wet blanket on the Fournette rumors Wednesday morning.
Sony Michel is recovering from offseason ankle surgery while the recently-signed Lamar Miller just came off the Physically Unable to Perform list, so the Patriots pursuing an early-down bruiser like Fournette isn't far-fetched, especially if they could get him on a favorable contract.
But Michel has looked good early in training camp and second-year rusher Damien Harris is making a push for the starting job, while Rex Burkhead and James White give New England depth at the position.
So, perhaps the Patriots are comfortable with their running back group as constituted ... or perhaps they'll surprise everyone and sign Fournette after 30 other teams pass him up.