Bill Belichick will be coaching with a heavy heart this week when the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.
Belichick’s mother, Jeannette, died this week of natural causes at 98.
“I want to thank everyone who’s reached out and expressed their sympathy and condolences for my mom,” Belichick said to start Thursday’s video conference call. “Especially Pete (Carroll) had some really great words and John Harbaugh, many others that I know, friends, football people and honestly, many people that I’ve never met or contacted before. So, I do really appreciate the support there.
“As an only child, everybody’s close to their — has a certain relationship with their mom and dad but as an only child, I was especially close to my parents. My mom and I spent a lot of time together. She was a great woman and I certainly learned pretty much everything from my parents. The love that she gave to her grandkids, to Amanda, Steve and Brian was ultra special to me as well. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and condolences.”
Belichick’s sons, Steve and Brian, are assistant coaches on the Patriots’ staff.
Belichick’s news conference closed with a question about how his mother supported him and his father, a coach and scout at Navy, in a football family.
Belichick’s father, Steve, died in 2005 at 86 years old.
“She was a very unselfish person and sacrificed a lot for her family and me personally,” Belichick said. “And I appreciate and love her for that, and many other things. My dad was away a lot on scouting trips, and so I always kind of grew up with her on football weekends at home. So, we watched hundreds of games together. whether it was Navy games or listened to them on the radio or watched other games that were on TV and so forth when my dad was away on Friday night, Saturday and sometimes Sunday morning, depending on how far he had to travel for the games that he was scouting.
“So, football season for me, as a kid, was my dad getting home late during the week and my mom on the weekends to watch football games. We became very close and shared those experiences together. And then the only time really that I saw my dad was during the end of the game week was the Army-Navy game. And then when he got home later at night, and when I was older, I was able to stay up and see him. If I stayed out of trouble I might get to do something with him later at night. I just didn’t want to act badly for my mom and have her turn me in, which she didn’t do very often even though I was deserving of it. So yeah, we had a very close relationship there.
“My mom was really kind of an academic person. She was very good in college and then after college, she worked for the map service during World War II and translated European maps because she spoke seven languages. Well, six at that time. She didn’t know Croatian. So, she was involved in the translation of maps during the war effort and then came back and taught languages at Hiram after the war, starting in 1945.
“So, unfortunately, those language skills didn’t rub off on her son, and one language is really about all I have. But she encouraged me to do the things that I wanted to do. She was very supportive of those. I wish I could have been better in the field that she was very good at. I tried that for a while but I just didn’t have it in all honesty. So I just, un peu of French, and that’s about it.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images