Bill Belichick Confirms He’s A Football Coach, Not A Doctor, In Spat With Reporter

UPDATE (12:35 p.m.): The reporter, Dave Brown of the Concord Monitor, reached out to clarify his intentions, and said his intention was to seek out real answers.

Brown was quoted by Forbes in August as saying, “To use a football analogy, Bill Walsh respected Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense, but had to figure out a way to get around it. So for the last eight years, I’ve been thinking: ‘Is there a way to get (Belichick) off his game plan?’ ” Brown clarified that answer by saying, “Yeah, his game plan to avoid answering my questions. I’m not going pretend his illogical answer was logical.”

ORIGINAL STORY: FOXBORO, Mass. — A reporter went out of his way to get Bill Belichick’s goat Tuesday and accomplished just that.

The back and forth between the New England Patriots coach and the reporter started out innocuous enough. The reporter wanted to know if the Patriots needed an exact diagnosis on Jimmy Garoppolo’s health before they decided whether or not to sign another quarterback. Belichick answered in his typical fashion. Then the reporter continued to repeat some form of the same question while interrupting Belichick three times.

Here’s the exchange.

Q: It seems like any personnel decision you’d make in that area would be dependent on the health of Jimmy. Is that something …?
“It would be dependent on what’s best for the football team. That’s what it’s dependent on.”

Q: Sure, but are you in a position where you have to evaluate both of those things — the health of a player and the possible need to bring in someone else?
“It’s based on what’s in the best interest of the football team. A player’s personal situation, his health, always comes first. That always comes first. That’s not a football decision. That’s a medical decision. Football decisions are what’s based on the football team. That’s what we’ve always done around here. That’s what we’ll always do as long as I’m here. That will never change. We’ll always do what’s best for the football team. That’s what it’s all driven by.”

Q: Do you have to get some certainty into what the health situation is before you make a personnel decision, and how do you juggle those?
“I’m a football coach. I’m not a doctor. The medical staff is the medical staff. I coach the team. The medical people handle the injuries. They don’t call plays, I don’t do surgery. We have a great deal there. It works out good.”

Q: You wait for them to inform you of what the medical decision is and then you decide? Or is it a situation where you evaluate and then …
“I do what’s best for the football team. Let me put it a different way: I’m the coach. I do what’s best for the football team. I don’t know why you don’t understand that.”

The same reporter caused a stir earlier in the summer when he asked Belichick if there was a possibility Garoppolo, based on his play during the first four weeks of the season, could unseat Tom Brady, who’s serving a four-game suspension, as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.

Belichick muttered, “Jesus Christ,” because he had addressed that very topic two days earlier when he said Brady would start in Week 5.

So here we are. The reporter makes himself the story again.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images