John Lynch gives insight into Bill Belichick’s softer side as a recruiter

John Lynch had a short stint with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots in 2008. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Spygate and Deflategate reports have painted Bill Belichick as a nefarious rule-breaker. Former players, however, are showing the New England Patriots coach’s softer side.

Lawyer Milloy explained Belichick gave his awesome hotel room to Milloy leading up to Super Bowl XXXVI, after the former Patriots safety complained his room was too small. And on The Peter Schrager Podcast Tuesday, former Denver Broncos safety John Lynch said Belichick recruited him heavily — but with emotional finesse. Lynch told then-Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan he intended to retire. Soon after, he had a incoming call.

“The next thing you know Bill Belichick starts picking up the phone and calling me every day,’’ Lynch said. “He kept calling between practices and said, ‘What do you think?’ We’d talk about anything, talk about my kids or whatever. You know, he started calling every day.’’


They talked football, too, of course.

“He just started selling me on, not overly aggressive, but basically like, ‘John, we should have done this four years ago when you went to Denver. You know how I think of you, because we had gone through it before, but here’s the role,’’’ Lynch said. “And it was a linebacker role in nickel. They were kind of going to play that as their base defense, so he basically without much pressure having discussions every day.’’

And it worked.

“Bill Belichick won’t leave me alone and it sounds pretty good,’’ he recalled telling his wife.

Lynch, who is now a commentator for NFL on Fox, joined the Patriots’ 2008 training camp, and made the roster for Week 1. Still, Belichick’s coaxing may have gotten him to New England, but it couldn’t keep Lynch on the football field. Lynch said his mindset changed when he left Denver, and camp with New England couldn’t reverse that decision — he wanted to retire.

But Belichick, as was suggested in ESPN’s “Outside The Lines’’ report, got Lynch on the chalk board and asked him questions about Monte Kiffin, the safety’s former defensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And while many are critical of Belichick’s gamesmanship, Belichick sounds like an earnest teacher of the game, eager to learn from one of his new pupils.


“He and I had a unique relationship,’’ Lynch said. “I joke with him often that he was trying to pick my brain. He was always fascinated with Monte Kiffin, what we did down in Tampa. So a lot of it, he had me on the chalkboard, telling me, ‘Alright, so how would Monte do this?’ I told him that’s the only reason he brought me there, to pick my brain on Monte Kiffin. But we had a great time and have a great relationship to this day because of it.’’

Listen to the entire podcast interview here.

h/t —

Patriots’ 2015 Draft Class

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