Morning sports update: Louis Riddick predicts Bill Belichick will be back in 2021 ‘with a vengeance’

"He's not going to take this past year sitting down and just go, 'You know what? I had my time.' The guy's coming back with a vengeance, and I can't wait to see it unfold."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick during the Patriots' loss to the Bills in 2020. –Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The Celtics (15-15) face the Mavericks (14-15) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Boston will try to rebound from what one expert called “the worst loss of the year” to the Pelicans on Sunday, when the Celtics blew a 24-point third quarter lead.

The Bruins will be back on Thursday against the Islanders at 7 p.m.

Louis Riddick’s view of Bill Belichick in 2021: The Patriots fell to a disappointing 7-9 season in 2020. It was Bill Belichick’s first chance to prove his coaching ability in the post-Tom Brady era, but — for a variety of reasons — it did not go as planned.

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Still, looking ahead to free agency, the draft, and (eventually) the 2021 season, one former Belichick player and football analyst thinks the longtime Patriots coach will remind everyone of his ability.

Speaking on Courtney Fallon’s podcast, “Bad Signal,” Louis Riddick listed all of Belichick’s motivating factors.

“Missing the playoffs, seeing Tom win a Super Bowl, having people doubt him now, not having a franchise quarterback not under contract, people saying now, ‘Well it was more Tom than it was you,’ and that whole damn debate,” Riddick explained, “I don’t care how many Super Bowls he has been to, or how many he has won, I promise you he is sitting somewhere right now going, ‘OK.’ But I would bet now he has — this year — I’ll bet he comes out firing this year in a way you haven’t seen in a long time.”

Riddick, who played in Cleveland during Belichick’s time in the ’90s, elaborated on his Belichick theory for 2021 during an interview on ESPN Tuesday morning.

“The reason why I made those comments was this: Having talked to him twice this past year for Monday Night Football on those productions calls, I can just tell you the frustration was palpable,” said Riddick.

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“I mean it came through on those Zoom calls in a way that you could just feel just how just frustrated he was that, one, he knew that he was kind of undermanned as far as his football team and the weapons that he had,” added Riddick. “He couldn’t do the things that he was used to doing. He couldn’t get his team to play at a consistently high level like he was used to doing. And you could tell that it frustrated him.”

With the offseason moving into focus, the Patriots will have the ability to make necessary moves.

New England has a large amount of cap space, and will likely get several key players back who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

“You could just tell and you knew that come this offseason, given the fact that they have upwards of $70 million in cap space, he’s going to have some freedom to go out and get some of the parts that he needs,” Riddick explained. “Starting with quarterback, moving on to getting more explosive on the perimeter as far as their ability to strike down the football field, getting more pass-rushers, getting bigger up front where he has always invested on defense, getting more playmakers at linebacker.

“I’m just telling you, you know he’s motivated, he’s one of the best coaches of all time, if not the best coach of all time in my opinion, and he has now the means with which to address these situations for his football team,” said Riddick. “He’s not going to take this past year sitting down and just go, ‘You know what? I had my time.’ The guy’s coming back with a vengeance, and I can’t wait to see it unfold.”

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Trivia: Louis Riddick played for Bill Belichick during Cleveland’s 11-5 season in 1994. Who was the Browns’ starting quarterback that year?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He last appeared in the NFL with the Panthers in 2007 at the age of 44.

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On this day: In 1989, the Celtics traded Danny Ainge to the Kings. Boston also sent forward Brad Lohaus as part of the deal, getting forward Ed Pinckney and center Joe Kleine in return.

After eight years with the Celtics, Ainge (then 29) was sent packing. Already an astute reader of NBA rosters, he wasn’t surprised by the move. Boston had too many guards, and needed help elsewhere.

“I thought there was a good chance something was going to happen,” he told Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe following the announcement. “We all knew the team was lacking. They got the big guys they thought they needed. A backup center was the biggest weakness on the team.”

Ainge’s playing career was far from over. He would eventually be traded from the Kings to the Trail Blazers in 1990, and play in two more NBA Finals (first with Portland, and the second after signing in Phoenix with the Suns).

Danny Ainge traded 1989

Daily highlight: Crystal Palace forward Jean-Philippe Mateta scored his first Premier League goal in style in Monday’s 2-1 win over Brighton.

Trivia answer: Vinny Testaverde

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