Patriots Rookie Justin Francis Notes Strong Similarities Between Bill, Steve Belichick

Patriots Rookie Justin Francis Notes Strong Similarities Between Bill, Steve BelichickFOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots defensive end Justin Francis got an inside look at Bill Belichick a while ago.

Francis, who went undrafted out of Rutgers, went to college with Belichick's son, Steve, who was a lacrosse player and long snapper for the football team. Francis and Steve Belichick became good friends, and now, they're back on the same team, as Steve was appointed a coaching assistant Thursday.

"It's kind of weird," Francis said with a laugh after being asked if it's strange that Steve is technically one of his bosses. "But he's a good friend, and I know he's never going to direct me in the wrong path. I take that, and I keep that. I'll always respect him. I respect his job, and I respect him as a friend as well."

Francis met the elder Belichick before signing with the Patriots. Belichick, of course, developed a nice pipeline with Rutgers due to his friendship with former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, who has since taken over the Buccaneers.

Now, with even more experience working with both Belichicks, Francis said they're extremely similar.

"Steve, he's a nice and steady guy," Francis said. "His dad is the same way. Coach is the same way. He's stern, and Steve is the same way. They both have a great way of dealing with things, and they're very smart. You can't do nothing but respect that."

Francis and Steve Belichick are both going through a new experience during this weekend's rookie camp. While Belichick has spent a considerable amount of time around the team in the past, this is the first time he's had a coaching moniker on his credentials. Francis said it's been important that they've had one another during the learning phase.

"He'll give me a wink and keep my spirits up like, 'Hey, let's work,' " Francis said. "And I'll tell him, I'll give him a nod like, 'Let's work.' [Belichick is] just keeping my spirits up, and I'm keeping his spirits up."

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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