In some of the weirdest news of the 2023 NFL offseason, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is being defended by former rival players.
Yes, you read that correctly.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Belichick’s current players are coming to his aid, but the recent criticism aimed toward the 70-year-old has drawn pushback from players who made their bones playing against the man. Take former New York Jets and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall for example.
“All these people out here talking about (how) Bill Belichick ain’t him, y’all sick! Y’all sick!” Marshall said on the “I Am Athlete” podcast Wednesday. “My boy, the Shady McCoy’s of the world. The Asante Samuel’s of the world. How dare y’all. How dare y’all say Bill Belichick ain’t that guy.
“… We keep debating and arguing over Bill Belichick. (Samuel) played with him for four years, so you would think he knows more than I do when it comes to Bill Belichick and the Patriots. But he keeps saying, ‘It’s all Tom (Brady)’ and ending on that. How dare you, Asante Samuel. How dare you, Shady McCoy. How dare you say Bill Belichick ain’t that guy?”
Samuel has been especially critical of Belichick lately, though his beef stretches back to the end of his tenure under the legendary coach in New England. In the seasons since leaving the Patriots, Samuel has consistently claimed Brady was the reason for the franchise’s long-time success.
The criticism from Samuel has been so ridiculous that Marshall, a man who was forced to get a Patriots tattoo because of a bet with Julian Edelman, had no choice but to fight back. Marshall played 12 games against New England in his career, totaling 60 catches for 882 yards and six touchdowns, building a healthy respect between himself and Belichick’s organization — though things aren’t always lovey dovey between the two sides.
All in all, it seems that people understand the criticism of Belichick is a tad overblown.