Prior to joining the Patriots, safety Adian Phillips believed that Bill Belichick was a win at all costs kind of head coach.
Now in his first year in New England, Phillips realizes that isn’t the case, which he says is actually a good thing after the Patriots’ COVID-19 outbreak.
“I wasn’t here before, so I can’t really answer how it’s been before, but I will say from the outside, it did look like it was win at all costs, ” Phillips told reporters on Wednesday. “Even when you get here, everyone wants to win, all 32 teams, but it’s just ‘What are you willing to do to get your team to that W?’ With the whole COVID situation, you can tell that [Coach Belichick] isn’t willing to sell out his whole team or put his whole team at risk just to get a win.”
The Patriots had three players reportedly test positive for COVID-19 and a fourth player placed on the COVID-IR list over a nine-day span earlier this month.
The outbreak forced the team’s game against the Chiefs to be pushed back a day and caused the Patriots to fly to Kansas City the morning of the game. Following Stephon Gilmore’s positive test, the team closed down its facilities for three days, causing the following game against the Broncos to be pushed from Sunday to Monday.
However, that game was ultimately moved off the Week 5 slate of games after defensive lineman Byron Cowart reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
The Patriots returned to their facilities Wednesday but didn’t practice. The team spaced out the schedules of players and personnel to limit the number of people in the facility at one time, according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi.
“Source tells me ‘when Bill said it was about the health and safety of those in the building, he wasn’t bull(bleeping),’” Giardi wrote in his report. “Adds that Belichick has ‘spent a lot of time educating himself on this virus’ and he has been ‘very’ active in calls with league.”
Phillips is happy that Belichick is putting the players’ safety first amidst all of the chaos. He hopes that other teams would do the same thing if they were in a similar situation.
“I don’t know how the other 31 teams are acting but I would expect the other teams to act the exact same way,” Phillips said. “We’re people. We have families. So it’s definitely the mindset that we’re going to do what we have to do to win, but we’re going to do it safe.”
“We’re not going to be out here reckless. We follow the guidelines. We’re doing everything right. We don’t want to be the team that breaks the rules. It is ‘win at all costs,’ but it’s ‘do it the right way.’”
Phillips’ sentiments were co-signed by offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Rex Burkhead.
“The Patriots, from the top to the bottom, have been doing a terrific job of taking precautionary steps needed to make sure everybody else is safe and everybody’s well-being is taken care of,” Wynn said.
″[Belichick] really has just put our safety, our family’s safety first,” Burkhead added. “And he’s been in constant communication with us on doing whatever he can or whatever the team can to put things in place to keep us safe. And that’s great, just knowing he has our back in these situations and these times.”
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