Belichick covers plenty of ground

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
11:00
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Quick hits from Bill Belichick’s news conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday morning:

Returnees have chance to play. Belichick made note that it was good to see some players back on the field this week (e.g. Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Shane Vereen). He said the plan is to see how some of them look today and then make a decision on their availability for Saturday’s game.

Micky Ward and the movies. Belichick had players at the movies last night, watching “The Fighter” with boxer Micky Ward. Ward also addressed the team. Belichick explained that in a long training camp, it’s sometimes good to break up the routine for players when they work hard. “I think it was something our team enjoyed last night,” he said, later adding/joking that his favorite movie candy is Junior Mints.

Lot of Albert Haynesworth chatter. A reporter from NFL Network was on site, peppering Belichick with questions on Haynesworth and why he was out of practice for such a long stretch before returning Tuesday. Asked if it was a coincidence that Haynesworth’s return came the day after his court date, Belichick said, “He had practiced before that.” Belichick added that Haynesworth has done everything that the Patriots have asked.

Matt Light close to return to action. Veteran left tackle Matt Light has yet to play in the preseason as he works his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. “He’s been out there, he’s been able to do everything,” Belichick said. “I think his lead up to the start of practice was good and since he’s been on the field, he’s been able to do everything we’ve asked him to do. I think he’s close. If he doesn’t play this week, I think he’ll be ready to play soon.”

Jon Bon Jovi at practice. Belichick smiled when talking about Bon Jovi’s presence at practice Wednesday, as the topic was brought up after he fielded a second round of questions on Haynesworth. “It eases the music play selection,” Belichick said. When it was noted that the Patriots also play Bruce Springsteen at practice, and if Bon Jovi needed an explanation for that, Belichick said the two “Jersey rockers have a pretty good relationship and mutual respect for one another. It’s Jersey rock and roll.” Belichick added that it was a pretty neat day to have someone who sold 120 million records at practice.

BC hockey coach Jerry York at practice. Belichick also touched on the presence of York at Wednesday’s practice. The two have grown close over the years, with Belichick visiting BC’s team multiple times. “He’s won 800, 900, however many games. A lot more than I’ve won, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Talking Jets and Rex Ryan. Belichick was asked his thoughts on Rex Ryan calling him the best coach in the NFL in an NFL Network interview. “It’s a nice compliment. I’ll take it,” he said. “I don’t think it really means anything, but it’s nice. I think we all know I have a lot of respect for him and his program down there too. Kind of right back at him.”

Hurricane Irene on the radar. “Hopefully we’ll be in [from Detroit] before it comes in. Definitely we have to keep an eye on it and batten down the hatches. At this point, we’ll be in and out before it hits. It looks like it’s a potential issue,” he said.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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