It seems like the name Bill Belichick, perhaps unsurprisingly, carries quite a bit of weight when it comes to attracting NFL players to the New England Patriots.
That notion has been debated rather consistently on sports talk radio since quarterback Tom Brady left one year ago. It was aided due to the longstanding perception that New England was strictly business, a place where players didn’t have any fun. First-year Patriot receiver Kendrick Bourne somewhat debunked that thought himself Monday.
And a big reason why Bourne, and probably many others, were willing to give it a try this offseason is because of the opportunity to play for Belichick. (Well, and the fact the Patriots handed out an uncommon amount of financial support probably didn’t hurt, either). Anyway, it was a common theme when members of the Patriots’ 2021 free-agency class met with reporters Monday in their introductory press conferences.
“It was huge,” versatile defensive back Jalen Mills told reporters regarding why he came to New England. “When we were talking about his defensive mind, how he is able to put guys in the best position to make plays for a team, you can’t ask for anything more. ? It was definitely a major key, being able to be coached by that guy, for sure.”
Henry Anderson, a defensive lineman who believes his skill set fits perfectly with Belichick’s 3-4 scheme, said much of the same.
“Coach Belichick is one of the great defensive coaches and defensive minds in the history of the league,” Anderson told reporters. “It?s a great chance to play for a coach like that and continue to learn and improve my game. I?m really excited.”
And while it’s no surprise that defensive players feel that way about the defensive-minded head coach, they weren’t alone.
Tight end Hunter Henry expressed his “trust” in Belichick and noted how it influenced him to sign in New England, despite a 7-9 season in 2020.
“I trust what we?re building here with the Patriots,” Henry told reporters. “I think that was big in my decision on why I wanted to be a Patriot — the trust of Coach Belichick and what we’re building there, and I’m fired up to be a part of it.”