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Bill Belichick passed on Combine to scout a lesser-known prospect

Mike Florio and Chris Simms debate whether Patriots QB Tom Brady will leave New England and disagree on the likelihood of him staying.

Indianapolis became the center of the NFL universe last week, and everybody there at the Scouting Combine was talking about Patriots quarterback and soon-to-be free agent Tom Brady.

So Patriots coach Bill Belichick was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, of course.

Middle Tennessee State University sent out some photos on social media of Belichick, standing in the rain working out defensive end/outside linebacker Tyshun Render, which got everyone’s attention. And even though they’re the ones who sent out the photos, they said the point was to keep the workout low-key.

“We didn’t make a big deal out of it, didn’t promote it, didn’t tell other players he was coming. I didn’t want it to turn into a circus, everyone coming out to see coach Belichick. So it was kind of under the radar a little bit,” MTSU coach Rick Stockstill told Mike Reiss of “He was very gracious, talking to us, and with how he treated Tyshun, how he asked him questions, how he communicated with him.

“When you think about, here’s arguably the best football coach ever in the NFL, and he’s on our campus, working out one of our players in the cold, pouring-down rain. It was a great experience just being able to shake his hand, talk to him a little bit, and watch how he evaluates players, and what he puts them through from a drill standpoint, and how he asked him questions watching film. It was a good learning experience for all of us.”

Belichick has a vacation home nearby, and called MTSU quarterbacks coach Tony Franklin last weekend to see if it was a possibility. Render was in Georgia, but when someone calls and says Bill Belichick wants you to work out, you come back to Murfreesboro.

So instead of walking the halls in Indianapolis at the league’s trade show where everyone else was, Belichick spent three hours working out a possible late-round pick in the rain.

For the record, Stockstill described Render as “a smart, intelligent football player,” who has some positional versatility and the chance to add weight to his 6-foot-4, 256-pound frame. Which sounds like a prototypical Belichick defensive player, who was scouted in anything but a prototypical way.