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Belichick on firing O-line coach: “Dave’s contract is up”


Throughout each of his 16 seasons as head coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick has opted to be as concise as possible when talking about most things related to his football team. So it’s not surprising that, when appearing Wednesday on WEEI, he opted to be concise about the news that the team had parted ways with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

Dave’s contract is up,” Belichick said, via the Providence Journal. “We talked after the game. We’re going to go in different directions on that one. I really have a lot of respect for Dave. We obviously had a lot of success offensively last year and this year. Appreciate all his efforts and all he did for us. Wish him well in whatever his future brings, but there will be some type of a transition at that position.”

Dave’s contract being up means only that the Patriots won’t have to pay him to not work for the team. Contract or not, telling a guy who wants to stay that he can’t is, as a practical matter, firing him.

“There’s some contract situations on the staff -- the expiration of it and that becomes either a new contract or not a new contract,” Belichick said regarding the possibility of not retaining other staff members. “We’re involved in a couple of those situations so we’ll see how it all turns out.”

In other words, Belichick had multiple lame ducks coaching for him this year, which surely created plenty of stress during the postseason, since the guys who had no security beyond the current season were seeing opportunities on other coaching staffs fill up with each passing day.

The real question is whether Belichick would have shrugged and said, “Dave’s contract is up” if the Patriots had won the Super Bowl again this year. The speed with which the change was made suggests Belichick made his mind up about saying “Dave’s not here” a while ago.