Detroit Lions

Bill Belichick releases statement in support of Matt Patricia

Bill Belichick releases statement in support of Matt Patricia

A day after a 1996 sexual assault allegation involving Matt Patricia resurfaced, Bill Belichick came to the defense of his former assistant.

Belichick released a statement supporting the ex-Patriots defensive coordinator, now Lions head coach, and mentioned the Patriots were never aware of the allegations while Patricia was with the team.

Patricia spoke on the matter shortly after the report resurfaced, continuing to vehemently deny the allegations:

"As someone who was falsely accused of this very serious charge over 22 years ago, and never given the opportunity to defend myself and clear my name, I find it incredibly unfair, disappointing, and frustrating that this story would resurface now with the only purpose being to damage my character and reputation," Patricia said in a statement issued by the Lions. "I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done."

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Patricia denies 1996 sexual assault allegation

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Patricia denies 1996 sexual assault allegation

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- New Lions head coach, and long-time Patriots assistant, Matt Patricia maintained his innocence and his new team said it supported him after a 1996 sexual assault allegation resurfaced Wednesday night.

The Detroit News reported that Patricia and a friend of his were indicted 22 years ago by a Texas grand jury, on one count each of aggravated sexual assault for an alleged incident involving a woman on South Padre Island. The accuser did not testify and the case was dismissed 10 months later.

"As someone who was falsely accused of this very serious charge over 22 years ago, and never given the opportunity to defend myself and clear my name, I find it incredibly unfair, disappointing, and frustrating that this story would resurface now with the only purpose being to damage my character and reputation," Patricia said in a statement issued by the Lions. "I firmly maintain my innocence, as I have always done."

The Lions hired Patricia after last season to replace Jim Caldwell as coach. 

The Lions said a "standard pre-employment background check" did not turn up the incident. But the team said it was standing by Patricia.

"We have spoken to Coach Patricia about this at length as well as the attorney who represented him at the time," the Lions said in a statement attributed to owner Martha Firestone Ford, general manager Bob Quinn and president Rod Wood. "Based upon everything we have learned, we believe and have accepted Coach Patricia's explanation and we will continue to support him."

Ex-Patriot Ricky Jean-Francois signing with Lions

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Ex-Patriot Ricky Jean-Francois signing with Lions

Former Patriots defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois is signing with the Lions, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports.

The 31-year-old had six tackles in six games for the Patriots in 2017. He'll reunite with ex-Patriots defensive coordinator and now Lions head coach Matt Patricia in Detroit.

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