Bill Belichick has dug in.

The longtime New England Patriots head coach spoke with reporters during his end-of-season press conference Monday. Belichick’s video conference indicated the future Hall of Famer would not be on board with any mutual parting of ways that Patriots owner Robert Kraft might have preferred.

Belichick, who time and time again has snickered at any contract-related question, pulled the contract card in the opening minutes of his press conference.

“So, I’m under contract, do what I always do, which is every day I come in and work as hard as I can to help the team in whatever way I can,” Belichick told reporters. “That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

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Countless Patriots reporters, including’s Dakota Randall, and national reporters read it the same way.

“The thing that struck me was that he mentioned he’s under contract. Bill Belichick almost never mentions his contract status,” NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said Monday morning on “NFL Total Access.” “What that said to me is it kind of puts the ball in owner Robert Kraft’s court saying, ‘Bill Belichick is under contract and wants to stay, if the Krafts do not want him to stay, then there is a move they can make, essentially firing him.’ What this did was basically, in kind of an odd way, put them on notice to be like, ‘If you want change, you’re going to have to make it.’ I thought that was a fascinating way to handle it and I think anyone who knows Bill Belichick and has known him for the last two decades, as we all have, that kind of raised the eyebrows a little bit.”

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Other top insiders echoed Rapoport’s sentiments.

On NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” Tom Pelissero added: “Belichick struck a very specific tone. He noted that he remains under contract. … One way you certainly can read those comments is after months of speculation about Robert Kraft might want to do, what Bill Belichick might want to do, potentially going and coaching some place else, which he dismissed as a hypothetical that he would not address, while making those comments ‘I’m under contract, I’m continuing to do my job, I’m for whatever is best for this football team.’ That now puts the decision back on Robert Kraft’s plate. In other words, ‘If I’m not back as head coach, go ask Robert Kraft why it didn’t work.'”

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And when appearing on ESPN’s “Get Up,” fellow NFL insider Adam Schefter shared: “Well, that is the issue there. He pointed out, somebody who doesn’t talk about his contract, that he does have a contract. And that’s a message to say essentially that Robert Kraft either has to fire him at this particular time and owe him the money, if that’s what he wants. Or, again, he’s under contract. That’s unusual for Bill Belichick to say. And I think the issue here is going to be whether Robert Kraft believes he can trade Bill Belichick for compensation, hold him out, and essentially negotiate with another team that would be willing to compensate the Patriots with a draft pick. Or whether he just would be willing to let Bill Belichick go.”

In addition to the comment about his contract, Belichick also said he would be willing to give up general manager duties, if the organization thought that was for the best. Perhaps saying that publicly will further strengthen Belichick’s case to stay with the organization?

Many believe Kraft was hoping for a mutual parting of ways as it would make it easier to explain publicly. However, it doesn’t seem Belichick will be signing off on his portion of the mutual agreement.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images