Bill Belichick has led the Patriots since 2000, the longest tenure among active head coaches in the NFL.
During that time, amid six Super Bowl wins, it’s been thought of as a virtual impossibility that he would leave for another NFL team.
Yet according to a recent claim from ESPN reporter Seth Wickersham, the 69-year-old Belichick may have pondered his options of a potential exit in 2018.
Wickersham, whose 2018 piece for ESPN (“For Kraft, Brady and Belichick, is this the beginning of the end?“) pulled the curtain back on the relationship between the Patriots’ key triumvirate, was a guest on “The Harrison Vapnek Podcast” earlier this week.
Asked about his work reporting the story in 2018, Wickersham included an interesting tidbit of knowledge regarding Belichick.
“There was a lot of pushback to that story. But, I felt comfortable with what I was writing and what I was working on,” Wickersham explained. “At the time, I think there was a sense that Brady wasn’t going anywhere and Bill left the impression that he might be open to a move.
“There were some reports that came out at the time that the Giants were looking at him,” Wickersham continued. “I think he talked to the Washington Football Team and the Dolphins about sort of their openings. And it was unclear whether he was interested or not, but he was still talking to them and subsequent reporting has only sort of shown how in that offseason, Brady skipped the offseason program for the first time in his career and he had just kind of had enough.”
Wickersham remembered that while Belichick and Brady ultimately put their differences aside for another two years (including a victorious Super Bowl run at the end of the 2018 season), the internal disagreements became more public in that time.
“It was a fascinating offseason,” Wickersham recalled. “Remember, [Brady] got up on stage in Los Angeles at that tech conference and he said, ‘I plead the fifth’ when asked if he felt appreciated. We never heard that language out of Tom Brady before. It was an interesting offseason to say the least.”
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