Stephen A. Smith hasn’t been happy with Bill Belichick ever since the New England Patriots head coach benched cornerback Malcolm Butler for the team’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
So it should come as no surprise Smith was a little hot under the collar Wednesday on ESPN’s “First Take” when discussing the Patriots’ decision to reportedly proceed without an official defensive coordinator in 2018.
Basically, Smith believes Belichick’s polarizing actions won’t go unnoticed by players across the league.
“What I will say to you is that his greatness as a coach is not to be questioned. I’m not here for that,” Smith said. “But I’ve completely turned on Bill Belichick from the standpoint of his core decency. I have a real problem with him and what he did in regards to Malcolm Butler. I think that’s as low as you can possibly get. I think it’s cruel. And I don’t care what anybody says, no one can convince me that that’s the kind of thing that a player won’t pay attention to.”
Former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia left the organization this offseason to become head coach of the Detroit Lions. Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores reportedly will assume New England’s primary defensive play-calling duties but not immediately receive the DC title.
This isn’t that outrageous, as Patricia called defensive plays for the Patriots for two seasons following former defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ departure after the 2009 season before officially being promoted. But Smith clearly can’t help but question Belichick’s motives after his controversial Super Bowl decision involving Butler.
In fact, this isn’t the first time Smith has suggested that free agents might think twice about joining the Patriots based on Belichick’s recent moves.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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