Bill Belichick speaks about wide receivers, roster moves at coaches breakfast
|03.27.12 at 11:37 am ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick‘s notoriously terse relationship with the media has been well-documented, so it was not much of a surprise when last year he was a no-show for the coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. This year, however, the breakfast seemed to be more his cup of tea, as Belichick made an appearance and fielded questions from the media for about 45 minutes. Still, Belichick spoke mostly in generalities during his session with reporters.
Belichick refused to get specific when talking about expectations for wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who reportedly restructured his contract so that he will earn $1 million in 2012 rather than $3 million.
“I think I have the same expectations for all our players, it doesn’t make a difference who they are or what year they are in — come in, work hard, be prepared, go out there and compete on the field,” Belichick told the assembled media. “There is no difference for any player ‘ first year, second year, 10th year.”
Ochocinco recorded 15 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown in his first season with New England. Those totals were the lowest by any of the team’s regular receivers, and the Patriots largely targeted receivers other than Ochocinco in most games. In the offseason, New England appears to have continued to look away from Ochocinco, as it signed receivers Brandon Lloyd, Donte’ Stallworth and Anthony Gonzalez in addition to re-signing Deion Branch for another year.
“You always try to have competition at every position,” Belichick said. “We’ve always had about that many receivers going to camp — 10, 11, somewhere in there — [and] we’ll see what the roster limit ends up being this year.”
Belichick had no update on the status of Wes Welker, whom the Patriots used a franchise tag on but have yet to negotiate a contract with. Belichick said he did not know if Welker will participate in offseason activities.
When asked about the potential for offensive linesman Matt Light‘s retirement, Belichick refused to speculate.
“If we have any announcements to make on any players, we’ll make them when appropriate,” Belichick said.
Belichick offered a brief glimpse into his thoughts on the league’s suspension of Saints coach Sean Payton. Patriots beat writer Ian Rapoport tweeted: Bill Belichick called the situation surrounding Sean Payton “unfortunate” and said the league “did what it did.”
Belichick also flashed his sense of humor. According to the Patriots Twitter account, when a reporter began a question about character by asking “How much do you weigh,” Belichick quickly responded by saying “too much.”