So much for Bill Belichick signing on for any “mutual parting of ways” with the New England Patriots.

Belichick on Monday put all his cards on the table during an end-of-season video call with reporters. Basically, the whole thing functioned as a tennis serve to Robert Kraft, who reportedly is mulling whether to retain Belichick as head coach of the Patriots.

In a near-unprecedented move, Belichick referenced his notoriously mysterious contract.

“I’m under contract,” he said after recapping New England’s miserable season, which finished Sunday with a 17-3 home loss to the New York Jets.

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“Do what I always do,” he continued, “which is every day I come in and work as hard as I can to help the team in whatever way I can. So, that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

In other words: “I’m under contract, and I’m planning on coaching the Patriots. If I leave, it’ll be because Kraft fires me.”

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The rest of Belichick’s opening statement saw the 71-year-old position himself as someone who’s prepared to tackle New England’s offseason as he would any other year.

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“Today was kind of a wrap-up day for us with the players, have a meeting with them and then go from there,” he said. “So, as far as any decisions or direction or anything like that for next year, it’s way too early for that. End-of-the-year processes, I don’t think will be fundamentally any different from the standpoint of how it’s done. The decisions, that’s a whole other conversation. But how it’s done, I’ll meet with Robert like I always do, meet with the staff, meet with the personnel department, kind of recap the season, look at the big picture and then look at some of the individual situations that are looming one way or another.

“But, that’s obviously a long way off from where we are right now. So, we’ll start at the end of the day, putting the pieces back together in terms of setting things up to go through a good, detailed analysis and to kind of start a reconstruction, if you will.”

While the rest of the football world is anticipating Belichick’s departure, the future Hall of Famer has an eye toward New England’s “reconstruction.” Nothing to see here.

All of this likely is a leverage play. Belichick wants to return and to make it clear that his fate is in Kraft’s hands. Does Kraft have the fortitude to fire the greatest coach in NFL history four years after letting the greatest player in NFL history walk in free agency?

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Belichick even claimed to be open to relinquishing control of general manager duties.

“Look, I’m for whatever, collectively, we decide as an organization is the best thing to help our football team,” he said.

Perhaps, somewhere deep down, Belichick knows this is the end for him in New England. He knows he’s partly responsible for the current state of the franchise, and that if he were any other coach he probably would’ve been fired last year.

But he’s not any other coach. He’s a highly paid, highly successful NFL legend — and he wants to keep his job.

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Your move, Robert.

Featured image via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images