Bill Belichick on If He Considered Opting Out: ‘I’m Fine’
Bill Belichick, who turned 68 years old in April, is squarely in an at-risk age group for COVID-19.
But unlike eight of his players, the Patriots’ coach isn’t opting out.
"I feel very good about the environment that we're in,” Belichick said during his Friday video call with the media when asked if he had considered taking the 2020 season off. “I'm fine."
As the second-oldest coach in the NFL, behind only Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Belichick has coached the Patriots’ last 320 contests from the sidelines without a single game off. He has been on an NFL coaching staff every year since 1975, helping run more training camps than almost anyone else in the league.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Belichick said he didn’t see too many major changes once everyone took the field for the first time this week.
“It looked to me like all the coaches coached and all the players played, pretty much like we always do other than masks and other modifications,” Belichick said. “I didn’t see any substantial differences, no.”
Belichick said the past few months had a steep learning curve when it came to making the most out of team Zoom meetings, but he said it was a collaborative effort on the part of his staff in New England as well as his college contemporaries who got a head start in the spring.
“After about two meetings, we could see that was going to be the new way of the world,” Belichick said. “We definitely did a lot of things to heighten the engagement: set up some competitive things, set up a variety of things and then the coaches exchanged ideas.”
The same man who has called Snapchat “SnapFace” on multiple occasions and destroyed a Microsoft Surface tablet on the sidelines in 2016 is not known for his ability to adapt to technological advancements in the world of football.
But even Belichick is starting to get used to video meetings now, and he said he thinks they could be around for good.
“It might be something that I probably would have never even considered a year ago,” Belichick said. “Now, after having a pretty significant amount of experience with it, I can see where there might be a place for it in the future.”
The NFL Players Association announced Thursday that 56 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to in-person camp. 52-year-old Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson tested positive Sunday, while former Eagles coach and good friend of Belichick, 56-year-old UCLA football coach Chip Kelly, tested positive in March, according to the Los Angeles Times.
For Belichick, however, it’s still business as usual.
Albeit with no more team buffet at 1 Patriot Place for the foreseeable future.