INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Belichick takes special teams very seriously.
If Charlie Thomas didn’t know that before the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl, he certainly found out during it.
The Georgia Tech linebacker was among a slew of NFL draft hopefuls who worked with Belichick and other Patriots at the Shrine Bowl. He and many of his West teammates spoke glowingly of New England’s staff while meeting with reporters Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
At one point, Thomas told a story of Belichick stopping a practice after a botched punt drill.
Here’s how Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald relayed Thomas’ story:
During one practice at the East-West Shrine Bowl, an annual showcase for draft prospects where the Patriots coached one team for a full week, Bill Belichick stopped everything. He confronted the punting unit that had failed to execute to his standards. He forced both sides to run it again.
Everything else on the day’s schedule could wait. Thomas was stunned.
“He don’t play (around),” Thomas said.
Thomas added: “It was very structured and disciplined. They’re straightforward. They’re going to tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you need to do to get better, and they’re going to be completely honest with you.”
Thomas is considered a potential Day 3 pick who also could go undrafted. So, whether the Patriots target him in late April is anyone’s guess.
But if Thomas lands in New England, he’d better show up ready to hammer the details on special teams.