<
>

Bill Belichick says 'I respect and treasure' coaching Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick reflected Wednesday on the 16th anniversary of being hired by the New England Patriots, while also relaying his excitement for his 17th season leading the franchise, which will maintain his standing as the league's longest-tenured head coach.

"That was one of the best days of my life," Belichick said in his season-ending appearance on sports radio WEEI. "I look back on that with great pride and a lot of positive reflections. The opportunity that [Patriots owner] Robert [Kraft] gave me to coach this team is one I respect and treasure and take very seriously."

Since the Patriots tabbed Belichick, there have been 160 head coaches hired by other teams around the NFL.

"I guess that means I've been doing it a long time, and getting older," Belichick said on WEEI. "I appreciate the opportunity here -- the support, the stability of ownership, the stability of the other areas in our organization as well. That's allowed us to take advantage of the consistency and stability we have, as our players are basically in the same system every year and they can build on their training and we can bring players in here and we know what the system is, and we know what they're going to be asked to do and hopefully find guys that can fit better than if you're switching it around all the time. Hopefully, some of those long-term benefits will continue to pay off for us in the future."

The organizational continuity described by Belichick has contributed to a coaching record paralleled by few in NFL history. Belichick has led the Patriots to four Super Bowl championships, tying Chuck Noll for the most Super Bowl wins as a head coach, and six Super Bowl appearances. The Patriots are 187-69 in the regular season under Belichick and 22-9 in the playoffs. They have qualified for the playoffs in every season of Belichick's tenure except for 2000, 2002 and 2008.

Belichick added, "I've certainly made my share of mistakes, and I'm sure I'll make more going forward. But I always try to do what's in the best interest of the team, and hopefully we can continue to improve and be competitive every year."

As part of that process, Belichick traveled this week to Mobile, Alabama, to watch Senior Bowl practices, from which he did the interview.

"Best wishes to all the fans in the offseason, and I look forward to next year and continuing to find a way to make our team better and more competitive, and a team that everybody in this region can be proud of," he said.

Belichick also confirmed that the team and offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo have parted ways.

"Dave's contract was up, and we talked after the game. We're going to go in different directions on that one," Belichick said. "I have a lot of respect for Dave. We had a lot of success offensively last year and this year, and appreciate all his efforts and all that he did for us, and wish him well in whatever his future brings. There will be some type of a transition at that position."