WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is joining President Donald Trump’s “Council On Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.”

Axios first reported Friday morning that Belichick is one of several big names being appointed to the group, which also includes former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon, retired New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, golfer Natalie Gulbis, volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, retired NFL running back Herschel Walker and TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Trump announced the council in February as part of his administration’s effort “to expand and encourage youth sports participation, and to promote the overall physical fitness, health, and nutrition of all Americans,” according to an executive order.

“The Council’s mission aligns with my beliefs and several of the Bill Belichick Foundation’s goals and values as they relate to sports, youth athletics and personal health and wellness. The physical fitness of children in our country is an apolitical issue that is extremely important to our future,” Belichick said in a statement. “When I was contacted by Ivanka Trump and asked to participate, I was humbled to be asked and honored to accept, as I would have done for any administration. I know that a lot of great leaders have participated on the Council over the past half century, some who are personal inspirations to me, and I am eager to lend any assistance I can to its ongoing mission.”

A source told Axios that the council will be at the White House in the coming months for a “sports field day.”

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that, according to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Trump spent a “long time” on the phone with Belichick recently and talked about the status of Tom Brady, whose relationship with the team has been widely dissected and discussed over the past several months.

Belichick and the president have been friends for years. In November 2016, Belichick confirmed he wrote a letter to Trump endorsing him in the election.

“Our friendship goes back many years, and I think anybody that’s spent more than five minutes with me knows that I’m not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated. I have a friendship and loyalty to Donald,” Belichick said at the time.

 

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