FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Call it casual Friday.
Bill Belichick arrived at his morning news conference wearing flip-flops and an inside-out gray sweatshirt, and seemed to be in good spirits. His opening statement was one of the longest in recent memory, which included congratulations to Troy Brown for his upcoming induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET, admission free), as well as wishes to former Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks (1973-1978).
“On behalf of the team, players and myself, I want to pass along our best wishes to Chuck Fairbanks and his family. Chuck, I think, is headed into some surgery today,” Belichick said. “Chuck has been a good friend for a long time and he’s meant a lot to this organization. At the time he came here, he did a great job turning the Patriots around and making them into one of the top teams in the AFC.”
Belichick touched on some of the football-specific areas in which Fairbanks had a big influence in the 1970s.
“They were things that stood the test of time and have been a big principle of this league for many, many years, [with] the disciples and people with him – 3-4 defense, the way he organized the draft, personnel meetings.”
Belichick apologized for making such a lengthy opening statement (it lasted about 3 minutes), but covered a lot of ground over the news conference, including sharing thoughts on rookie safety Nate Ebner (more on that to come).