Pepper recalls colorful introduction to Parcells


Though Bill Parcells has stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the Miami Dolphins, he remains with the team in a consultant’s role and his imprint is all over the roster.

So it’s only natural that the former Patriots coach, who won two Super Bowls with Bill Belichick as his defensive coordinator, would be a topic of conversation this week as the Patriots gear up to play the Dolphins on Monday night.

New England defensive line coach Pepper Johnson played for Parcells and Belichick with the Giants and Jets, and also for Belichick in Cleveland. This afternoon was asked for his memories of Parcells.


“Coach Parcells had me on Day One,” Johnson said. “All the draft picks, he got us into one room and he told us, “[You?re] all a bunch of crap.” He said, ‘We won a lot of ball games around here and none you guys are really needed around here. You just join in wherever you can find a spot.’ And that was the end of the meeting and he got up and walked away. He was a hard and tough cookie to deal with from Day One and he kept that going until my last year. Year 13 he was still hard on me. I thought I was going to get a break, but he was the same person.”

For as tough as Parcells was on him, Johnson said he was “a nice guy” compared to his coach at MacKenzie High in Detroit.

Belichick gave Johnson his start in coaching when he took over the Patriots in 2000 and named Johnson as assistant linebackers coach.

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