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'06 Pro Bowl created Payton-Belichick link

In speaking with New Orleans media members on a conference call Wednesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick reflected on being at the 2006 Pro Bowl and spending some low-pressure time with Saints head coach Sean Payton.

"We had a chance to spend a whole day out there on a fishing trip and it was a lot of fun," Belichick said. "I think he's a really sincere guy that comes from the heart. There's not a lot of fluff and B.S. on top of it. He's really down to earth, humble, sincere and a man that I really respect."

On a conference call with members of the New England media, Payton was asked what he recalled from that experience.

"For me as a young coach, after my first year, there might be 3 or 4 scheduling questions or things you might want to get a better grasp from. Just to get someone else's opinion and thoughts, someone as successful as Bill has been ... He's a guy I have a ton of respect for. I really enjoyed the time we had a chance to spend, just that week."

Turns out the fishing trip wasn't the only time Belichick and Payton found themselves side by side. The NFC bus that Payton was riding on broke down on the way to the Pro Bowl, so the coaches and players piled onto the AFC bus that Belichick was on.

"It was a good experience and one I'll always remember," Payton said.