Some highlights from Bill Parcells’ Monday Q&A with the media
|04.18.11 at 11:14 am ET|
Bill Parcells — along with Drew Bledsoe and Houston Antwine, one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame — held a conference call with the media Monday morning. (Fans can vote at Patriots.com.) Here are some of the highlights of his Q&A with the media:
You say this is a surprise … why is that?
“I don’t know. First of all, I really didn’t know much about this. I really didn’t know that this was in existence at the Patriots. Stacey was kind enough to call me and tell me about it, so it was a surprise in that matter of speaking. I really just wasn’t familiar that they had something like this going on.”
On the second stint in New England, what do you remember the most?
“Well, I remember going there, and in all honesty, the franchise was — I don’t want to say in disarray, but it certainly was unsettled. That would be the best way to put it. The ownership was unsettled, there were not a lot of people going to the games. The management of the franchise was unsettled. It was a big undertaking. I do see a lot when Robert Kraft took over the team, that was very, a major step for stability for the franchise, and for the Patriots themselves. Of course, now it’s one of the premier franchises, top three or four in the league, no doubt. Just look what’s happened in the 15 years or 16 years from then until now. It’s gone from being a place that didn’t have very good facilities to having the best. The team wasn’t great and now it’s certainly a premier team. And Bill Belichick’s done a tremendous job there, a remarkable job. It’s a model for the teams in the league there that are striving to do what the Patriots have already done. I don’t really think I had a whole lot to do with that, but I think the one thing I would say that was helpful is that we were able to, in the course of my time there, I’ll name a few guys because I was just thinking about what i was going to say: besides the obvious in Drew Bledsoe, [Willie] McGinest, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Troy Brown, [Tedy] Bruschi, Curtis Martin, Adam Vinatieri, Terry Glenn … we were able to put those players on the team to go with Ben Coates and [Bruce] Armstrong and Sam Gash and Maurice Hurst, who was a good little player, guys who were already there, and I think that was the beginning of some personnel continuity. Some of those kids have gone on to be as you know some of the great players in Patriots history. So I do take a sense of accomplishment in that because there are some real quality players there who made a significant contribution to the development of the franchise.”
On Drew Bledsoe and being his mentor not once but twice:
“You may remember the two top candidates were Rick Mirer and Drew Bledsoe. Drew was a young man — 20 years old at the time — coming out of Washington State and had been a prolific passer in the Pac-10. Rick Mirer of course was at Notre Dame, and the level of competition was just a little bit better. He was 23 years old. And a lot of my thought process and our thought process in scouting them was, ‘Well, Drew can make all the throws and he’s a little bit younger and certainly not as mature as Mirer, but where is he going to be when he’s 23 years old? He’s got a three-year window to get pro football into his system and learn about it.’ And, of course, I personally was very happy that we picked him, and he really had a very, very good career, and came in and really helped get the franchise established. he really was thrown to the wolves a little bit, and he survived that and was able to kind to get himself grounded and do a terrific job for New England for a long time. That was really one of the key pieces. Along with those young guys I mentioned, a couple of those others like Adam Vinatieri, he was just stumbled on. A friend of mine was coaching in Europe and Ada had only kicked 10 field goals and he made nine of them. We just kind of find out about him through good fortune. Same with Troy Brown who had a stellar career for New England. … Sometimes you just get lucky as well.”
Are you done in the NFL?
“No, I’m done. I know I’ve said that before. You better put it down in pencil. But my full intention is that I’m going to be 70 years old in August and I’m enjoying my time now. This is the first … I really left Miami about October 1st last year, and this is the first time I’ve really had any extended period of time to myself. I’m doing some things that I enjoy doing. I have as I said, a place in Saratoga, New York, which I like very much. I’m currently speaking to you from Jupiter, Florida, which I’ve been here since in the mid-80s, and I love it here. It’s a good time for me and fortunately I’m in good health, and feel good. I still have a lot of things I’d like to try to do, but I think I’m going to leave the NFL to someone else now.”
Any regrets from your time in New England?
“Well, as you know, I had some … let’s say we had a couple of domestic misunderstandings with the ownership, and I do regret that. Those things have since been resolved, and I think retrospectively, I would have handled things substantially differently than I did. I was always saddened by the fact that I had to leave there. In all honesty, I didn’t really want to. I’m sure Bob would say something along those lines himself, because we have talked about that. So I thought we had a pretty good team there — we just didn’t win a Super Bowl. It was a very young team. Now we needed some more help — it wasn’t a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. But we were on the way up. I don’t think there was any question about that. We needed a little help defensively, maybe another offensive lineman or two, but we had the skill people and some of the defensive pressure players in place. I do regret that. But hey, that’s life. You learn from things as you go on. Certainly, retrospectively, I would have approached it a little bit differently than what I did.”
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