GLENDALE, Ariz. — Players drafted, signed or acquired by the New England Patriots don’t just instinctively do and say all the right things. They follow the lead of head coach Bill Belichick, who at age 64, is just as dedicated to his craft as when he joined the Patriots at 48.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman, who had seven catches on seven targets for 64 yards in the Patriots’ 23-21 season-opening win over the Arizona Cardinals, recalled a story after the game revealing Belichick’s dedication.
“I remember my second year in the league, I was doing a cold tub at like 12 o’clock at night, just so happy to be on the team,” Edelman said. “And coach was there walking on the treadmill, watching film, and we just so happened to walk out at the same time. And I asked him, ‘Coach, you know it’s pretty unbelievable you do this all the time.’ He goes, ‘It beats being a plumber.’
“Nothing wrong with plumbers or anything, but it’s unbelievable. He’s just the most disciplined, hard-working guy. That’s why we have a team that goes out and tries to do the same.”
Belichick’s unchallenged preparedness was on full display Sunday when the Patriots, without quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, left tackle Nate Solder, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, right guard Jonathan Cooper, running back Dion Lewis and defensive end Rob Ninkovich, beat the Super Bowl-contender Cardinals on their own turf.
Thumbnail photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images