Not your average Bill Belichick press conference

Patriots coach Bill Belichick breaks his silence (USA Today Sports)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick breaks his silence
(Photo: USA Today Sports)

This…was a different Bill Belichick. At least, from the one we see publicly.

Addressing the media for the first time since the murder investigation surrounding their former tight end, the head coach of the New England Patriots showed a side of himself we rarely ever see.

He was…human.

Belichick opened by saying he thought it was important to address the Aaron Hernandez situation before the start of training camp. It was the only time he referred to Hernandez by name. After that, he was just a “player.”

The coach called it “a sad day, on so many levels,” saying he found out about the investigation when he was out of the country and that it left him “shocked and disappointed.”

He reached out to the family of the victim, Odin Lloyd, sending thoughts and prayers to them and anyone else who had been impacted by the tragedy.

And Bill Belichick also took responsibility, saying that as coach he is “primarily responsible” for the players they bring in. He stressed the extensive evaluation process the Patriots use, but admitted it was “far from perfect.”

“We try to look at every single situation on a case-by-case basis and try to do what’s best for the football team and what’s best for the franchise. Most of those decisions have worked out, but some don’t.”  -Bill Belichick

Calling it a “terrible experience,” Belichick vowed the Patriots would learn from it and use it to become a better team.

This was a different Bill Belichick press conference. He admitted feeling personally disappointed and hurt. He showed sorrow and evoked sympathy. He was honest, humble, and straightforward throughout.

A different Bill Belichick…or a different Bill Belichick press conference?

That remains to be seen.

But, I know one thing…

I like this guy. I’m pulling for this guy…and his team.

And that’s something I never said about the old Bill Belichick.

XO

The secret life of the Patriots tight end

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez  (Photo: Patriots)

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez
(Photo: Patriots)

Aaron Hernandez. We hardly knew you. Or so it seems.

We thought we knew you. By all accounts, you seemed like a good guy who suffered a traumatic loss at a young age. Losing a father as a teenager can throw anyone off track. At least for a while.

You needed a male presence in your life and you found it. In your friends. Only they were the wrong friends for someone with your future.

Still, your star shined brightly in high school and college. You entered the NFL draft as one of the most talented players at your position. But suddenly, your draft stock fell. There was talk of a failed drug test.

Despite the red flag, the New England Patriots signed you in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. You were in the NFL. This was your chance. No matter what happened growing up, you could write your own future from here. And you would.

For three seasons, you did everything the team asked of you. In August of 2012, it all paid off. The Patriots presented you with a generous five-year extension. It was the contract that would set you up for life.

By the following June, you found yourself at the center of a murder investigation. At first, we thought it wasn’t possible. Surely your name would be cleared.

But there was more. There were other incidents. Incidents that went back to college. And incidents we knew nothing about. Until now.

There’s still a lot we don’t know. Expect for this…

We thought we knew you.

But in the end, we didn’t know you at all.

XO

For an inside look at the Aaron Hernandez investigation, listen to my podcast.