Belichick's passion for football

March, 22, 2011
3/22/11
6:00
AM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- There were plenty of storylines at the NFL's annual meeting for those in attendance from New England.

Brandon Meriweather's attorney speaking out ... team president Jonathan Kraft covering the bases ... Bill Belichick panning the league's kickoff proposal ... NFL labor woes ... trade rumors in the draft.

By the end of Monday, all the information was covered in some form. All that was left was putting some type of a bow around it.

That's when a Belichick-based thought came to the forefront. He had come out as strong as anyone against the most significant rule proposal being discussed here -- altering the kickoff -- saying he felt it wasn't good for the game. Because of his standing in the league, now entering his 37th year, the comments naturally made headlines.

Belichick seldom puts himself out there like that.

It would be one thing if Belichick had a Devin Hester-type returner on his club and was protecting Patriots' interests, but from this view, it was more a case of him defending the on-field product of a game in which he's been a part of since the mid-1970s.

After all those years, it was a reminder that his passion for the game still burns, and that was the Patriots-based story (now posted on ESPNBoston.com) that stood out most from the NFL's annual meeting.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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