For years, just about everyone in New England has been able to look at the departure of Asante Samuel and view it as a mistake made by the Patriots. In the 2008 and '09 seasons, the Patriots' leaders in interceptions had four and five, respectively.
Now, however, the cornerback is shedding some light on why his relationship with the team soured so much.
"I ain't never said it, but [Bill] Belichick, I just felt like he had a thing for me. He had something against me. I have no idea why," Samuel told Geoff Mosher of The News Journal in Delaware in a one-on-one interview. "He was going to start Troy Brown, a receiver, at nickel, and I'm over here sitting healthy and he don't want to even play me."
The Patriots refuted that claim, telling the newspaper that Samuel had missed several practice sessions during the week in question.
Samuel also said he doesn't feel that he ever got the credit for being a star, despite his 22 interceptions in five seasons in New England.
"Ty Law in New England, he's making all these picks, [and people would say,] 'Oh, he's a great corner, this and that,'" Samuel said. "But I all of a sudden go and do it [and it's], 'Oh, he's in a Cover 2 defense, that's why he isn't as good and this and that.' But when Ty Law does it, it's all gravy.
"I know in my heart ain't nobody out there doing what I'm doing," he went on to say. "If you can't respect that, you're hatin'. Anybody else had those stats, people would be going crazy."
Samuel is right in the sense that he didn't get the credit that Law received … but that's because Law was better. Law played 15 seasons, picking off 53 passes and solidifying himself for years as a lockdown defender. Samuel was indeed very good, but he was no Ty Law.
Oh, and there's not a chance that Law lets this ball bounce off his finger tips.
Still, Samuel seems to have his goals in order.
"The only thing I need you guys [the media] for is to help me get into the Hall of Fame," he told the paper. "That's what they tell me."
At least we all know the meaning behind Samuel's words of advice for Vince Wilfork back in January, and we all have a much better understanding of why the Asante Samuel era in New England was doomed long before it came to an official end.