By comparison to the Cleveland icon, Tuesday's release of cornerback Darius Butler was a drop in the bucket.
But still, Butler was a 2009 second-round pick, and the transaction came a few days after Belichick released safety Brandon Meriweather, a 2007 first-round pick, which came a month after the release of defensive end Ty Warren, a 2003 first-round pick.
All of the cuts drew varying degrees of reaction, either by Patriots players, fans or media. Belichick was asked Wednesday if it stings more to cut ties with a high-level draft pick, and the head coach offered an interesting response.
"We have a saying around here: 'It doesn't matter how you get here. It's what you do here,'" Belichick said. "I think that's the way I think we should coach the team, and I think that's what the players expect. That goes for everybody. Nobody is on a scholarship. Everybody has to earn their keep. It's a competitive situation. I think that brings out the best in everybody, brings out the best in guys that are established that they're being pushed, it brings out the best from guys who aren't established who know they have an opportunity. Competition is competition. That's just basing on what the performance is -– all that is decided on the field."