By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — There’s been quite a bit of controversy and speculation surrounding the New England Patriots over the past several days.
As you might imagine, Bill Belichick is having none of it.
Belichick spoke to reporters via conference call on Monday, his first time answering questions since ESPN released its lengthy article which cited anonymous sources in suggesting that the Patriots’ power trio of Tom Brady, Robert Kraft and Belichick were heading for an impending breakup.
Belichick said he didn’t read the story, but nevertheless ripped it to shreds.
“Look, we’ve been through this before,” Belichick said when asked if the report was accurate when it said he was “furious and demoralized” after being forced to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. “And I know you want to report on things that are inaccurate and un-attributable, and I’m not really interested in responding to all those random, and I would say in a lot of cases, baseless comments. So.”
As for the speculation that he might be leaving the Patriots this offseason, Belichick said he “absolutely” intends to return as Patriots coach next season.
Belichick was also asked directly if he’d like to coach the New York Giants, after a New York columnist cited “a source close to Belichick” and said the Hall of Fame head coach may “see an opening” to return to the place where he established his name as an NFL coach.
Belichick passed on the question.
“Right now my interest is trying to do the best I can for our football team to get ready for Saturday night against Tennessee,” Belichick said. “That’s where my total focus is.”
And as for the budding tension that’s been reportedly growing between him and his quarterback, Belichick only spoke highly of Brady when asked how the quarterback has been preparing this week.
“Tom always prepares well. He’s one of the hardest-working players on the team. He’s had a long history of that,” Belichick said. “He’s very diligent in his preparation.”
And while Belichick has been known to both advise his players to “Ignore The Noise” and use some of that outside noise as a motivation. Belichick was asked if he might use the ESPN report as fuel for the Patriots in this postseason run.
“Yeah, what we’re going to do is utilize the time that we have — structure and practice and prepare as efficiently as we can to be ready to go on Saturday night against the Titans. That’s what we’re going to do,” Belichick said. “I know everybody in this organization is committed to that. We’ve worked all year to put ourselves in position. Now we have, after the wild-card weekend, things have been re-seeded and we know what our challenge is. We know it’s a big one. And we’re going to do our best to meet it. That’s what we’re going to do.”
With a playoff game just five days away, Belichick — like Brady — made it clear on Monday that he’s maintaining a business-as-usual approach as he runs the Patriots.