- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- About that perception that Patriots coach Bill Belichick abhors news conferences ...
A day like today makes me wonder if he actually enjoys them from time to time as he delivered a few lighthearted zingers to media members and the New York Jets.
Let's fast-forward to the 14-minute mark of the 20-minute news conference when Belichick was asked a few questions about tight end Rob Gronkowski and if he's now reached the point of other players who had a full training camp. Belichick was describing how it's not really possible to replace a missed training camp (because of limitations on padded practices during the season) and how Gronkowski's training camp/preseason came during the first six weeks of the regular season when he returned to practice but wasn't playing in games.
That's when Belichick turned his head to look at one media member in the room who had consistently questioned the coach about Gronkowski early in the season, reminding the journalist that was the stretch of time in which he did so.
On a scale of 1-10, we'll give Belichick an 8.5 for that zinger. Solid delivery, drawing a smile from the reporter and laughter from others in the room.
About five minutes later, Belichick was asked if he has any personal affinity for the Cleveland Browns' organization based on his time as their head coach from 1991 to '95. (The Patriots play the Browns on Sunday.)
"I was there for five years. Those were five important years in my life -- for myself and my family and all that. But obviously, we've all moved on and I have a job to do here, and that's where my loyalty is -- to Robert [Kraft] and the Patriots' organization and this football team. It's no different than how I feel, honestly, about the Colts or the Lions or the Broncos," he said of some of his other coaching stops, before sharpening his tongue.
"I feel differently about the Jets. We won't put them in that category."
3dField Yates and Rich Cimini