Patriots

Bill Belichick explained Patriots’ mental health approach in response to question about Antonio Brown

Belichick was also asked about his sideline joke with Mac Jones.

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick during the Patriots' win over the Jaguars on Jan. 2. AP Photo/Paul Connors

The Patriots got 2022 off to a winning start with a lopsided 50-10 win over the Jaguars on Sunday. A day later, Patriots coach Bill Belichick weighed in with his thoughts during a Monday morning interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

Asked initially about how he spent the recent holiday period, Belichick unsurprisingly kept things straightforward.

“Holidays were busy but all good,” he explained, “good to play well yesterday, good to get back on track, ready for 2022.”

As for whether or not he was a party to Mac Jones’s holiday gift to his offensive line (cryptocurrency), Belichick had a simple response.

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“Yeah I don’t even know what cryptocurrency is.”

Here are a few other topics that were covered in the interview:

A “great response” to recent struggles

After back-to-back defeats, the Patriots delivered an emphatic response against Jacksonville on Sunday.

Though the Jaguars are a team in disarray, the Patriots’ own ability to execute was a fact that had players excited in the aftermath. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers called the buildup to the game a “look in the mirror” moment.

“This was our best week in a little while here,” Belichick concurred. “Not really sure why that was, but maybe that was part of it, what Jakobi said, we reached the point where we kind of had to face the music here.

“Our captains and some of our veteran leaders on our team I thought did a real good job this week of setting an example and really challenging themselves, challenging the team,” added Belichick. “We got a great response yesterday, so try and keep that going.”

Antonio Brown and mental health

Former Patriots receiver Antonio Brown, who helped Tom Brady and the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl last season, walked off the field during the team’s eventual win over the Jets on Sunday.

Brown’s public departure from the team once again brought up the issue of mental health in the NFL.

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It was a question put to Belichick during the interview.

“Yeah, that’s important for all of us,” Belichick said of the focus on mental health. “We have a number of people who are involved in one way or another in that area, certainly our medical staff, but there’s an awareness from other people in the organization, coaches and other staff members and so forth.

“Each one of us is different, each one of us is unique and we try to have a team structure and we have to work individually with guys as stuff comes up,” he continued. “We’ve had players last year, a situation where—look, there are multiple situations, but where things come up where we can be helpful, we try to do that.”

As for Brown’s specific incident, Belichick refrained from a direct comment.

“I didn’t really see what happened yesterday. This isn’t about that,” Belichick explained, “it’s just in general that’s how we try to handle the mental health side of it.”

“It’s very important,” said Belichick. “It’s something everybody’s very aware of. We talk about it on a pretty regular basis, and football players are tough. They like to block out and try to block out distractions, and things that could affect them on the football field. But at the same time, you’ve got to live your life and deal with other things. So it’s trying to find that balance.”

The sideline joke with Mac Jones

With the Patriots up late in the fourth quarter, even Belichick relaxed for a moment in the sidelines, enjoying some humor with Jones and other members of the New England offense.

Asked what he was joking about, Belichick didn’t divulge specifics.

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“Well, it’s rare to have that type of a lead,” said Belichick, calling it “just a lighter moment.”

“Just happy for the team, happy for the way our players responded to the challenge. Couple of disappointing weeks there but it’s good to know that we’re going to be playing in the postseason and now’s the time for us to prepare and play our best football, so that’s what we’re all going to try and do.”

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