FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots coach Bill Belichick arrived at the podium for his news conference and –- after joking if there were any questions about the bye week -- opened with the following statement:
“I thought I would try to shed a little light on the trade with Randy. I’m sure I’m not going to be able to answer all the questions that you have. I’d just say that Randy was really a pleasure to coach. I enjoyed having him on our team. He made a lot of contributions to this football team. When I spoke with Randy yesterday morning, the conversations were consistent with what they’ve been for the last four years – honest, open, very forthright. We talked about a lot of things that I’ll keep between Randy and myself. In the end, it was a difficult decision, but one that I feel is in the best interest of the football team.
“Our team, organizationally, we’ve had conversations and obviously are comfortable with the trade. We wish Randy the absolute best. He’s been a player I’ve had a good relationship with. He’s very honest, when I’ve asked him questions about football and personnel and things like that. He’s been very helpful to me personally. He’s been very professional and I think a good teammate and a good contributing member of this team.
“But in the end, that was the decision. I have confidence in our players, that if they continue to work hard and improve that we’ll be competitive and be able to win games. That’s what we’re here to do – win games. We’ve won more games than any other team in the last decade. Hopefully we’ll continue to win them going forward. That’s what we’re here for.”
See below for the full Q&A ... and check out our news story on his comments here.
You’ve said over the years that your bottom-line philosophy is that you make decisions that are best for the football team. Why is this decision best for the team?
“It’s a combination of things. It’s pretty much a longer discussion than we’re going to have. It’s a combination of factors. I would say this – there was never any incident or discipline problem with Randy, there never has been one with me in four years. It certainly wasn’t about contract and money, I think Randy showed and proved from the first year he was here what that was all about. He [re-did] his contract and made the whole [trade from Oakland] work. I think you can eliminate those two things.”
Some fans said they were confused by this trade. Can you explain further?
“It was done in the best interests of the football team. It’s a combination of things. As I said, I don’t think I can answer every single question for you. I’m not going to try to.”
There are reports that there was a discussion, or non-discussion, between you and Randy on the plane back from Miami. Can you talk about …
“Absolutely not true. I didn’t talk to Randy on the plane. I just said, there is no incident, I’ve never had one with Randy. Never. Not in four years.”
Did Randy do anything with other coaches or personnel that concerned you?
“I told you about that.”
Can you describe from a football standpoint what losing Randy means and how you will deal with that?
“We have a lot of players on our football team. I have a lot of confidence in our total team, all of our players, our offensive players. We’ll continue to try to do the best we can as a coaching staff and players and individually and executing their jobs and assignments to be a productive team that wins games. That’s what we’ll do. Each week is different. Every game-plan is different. What we do this week will be what we think is best for the Ravens, just like what we did last week was what we felt was best for Miami. That’s the way it will be every week.”
What will be the most difficult skill to replace without Randy?
“Randy is a unique player. I don’t know that you replace a player like Randy, or Kevin Faulk, guys like that, they’re special players. They have a unique set of skills. Other players do different things. They bring different things to the table. It’s collectively about what we do as a total football team. That’s what it’s always been. That’s what it will be.”
To what extent do you think this will hurt the offense and the team’s chances to win the Super Bowl?
“Right now, I think our big thing is to go out on the field like we do every day and try to improve and get better as a football team. That’s what we’re going to do today, tomorrow, and next week to get ready for the Ravens. I think we’re going to work hard to be as good as we can be.”
What kind of input did Tom Brady have?
“No, I made the … Tom doesn’t make personnel decisions.”
Did he try to lobby on Randy’s behalf?
“Tom is a player.”
Is the trade something that just came up or how long have you been working on this?
"I think, again, any conversations [between] myself and Randy, our conversations with any other team, organizations, or any internal conversations that we have organizationally about personnel decisions and so forth, I think are best kept private, which is what the intent of those conversations were."
If it wasn’t about Randy being a bad teammate or contract issues, was this just about the offense wanting to go in a new direction?
"It was a combination of factors. There was no one thing. It was a combination of things, and in the end, we felt like what we did what was best for the football team. And again, another part of it was just the personal relationship with Randy. And in talking to him, some of the feelings and things that he expressed that he and I talked openly about, when all was said and done and it all was put together, I felt like that was the best thing."