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Thursday, 27 July 2017 14:00

Bill Belichick Disarms Questions About A Potential 19-0 Season, Acknowledges Seriousness of Boston University CTE Study

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He wasn't about to bite. Everyone in the press room at Gillette Stadium on the day players reported for training camp knew it. Everyone who has ever watched Bill Belichick handle the media knew he wasn't going to help propagate the storyline of the potential his team has to not only win a sixth Super Bowl but notch a perfect season in the process.

Ever since Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore were acquired to kickoff an offseason of roster-building not seen since 2007, the comparisons were inevitable.

But that didn't mean there weren't reporters in the room willing to try.

Belichick was asked if he would choose between "a piercing death stare or just utter disgust" upon being asked about the 19-0 possibility.

"Yeah, right now, we’re just trying to have a good day here today, get off to a good start in training camp," Belichick said. "We’re not really worried about all that’s in the future. That will come when it comes."

Training camp practice doesn't begin until Thursday morning at 9 a.m. but players reported on Wednesday. Assistant coaches spoke as well on Wednesday along with Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater.

Belichick was reminded that he appeared on the cover of "Nantucket Magazine" with longtime girlfriend Linda Holliday over the summer.

"Do you think I would have been better off reading the July issue of Nantucket Magazine, in which you were featured on the cover?" the reporter asked.

"For what?" Belichick answered adroitly.

For (summer) reading instead of stories about going undefeated, the reporter answered.

"Yeah, I don’t know," Belichick quipped. 

Belichick was given a one-question reprieve when being asked about missing the retired Sebastian Vollmer.

"Yeah, Sebastian was a great player for us," Belichick gladly answered. "He played a lot of football, played very well at a very young age for us his rookie year. He got some great players – [Dwight] Freeney, [Robert] Mathis, guys like that. Unfortunately, he didn’t play for us last year. He was here, but he never actually got to play. We’ve had kind of life without Sebastian on the field for a year. Yes, we miss him, but we understand that’s the way it is in this game. So, he’s moved on and we wish him well. We appreciate everything he’s done for us.

"He was a great teammate, great player for us, and he came a long way in the time from when he was in Houston to his rookie year here and played a lot of great football for us on both sides of the line – left tackle and right tackle. Great player to coach, work with, tough, great teammate – a lot of respect for Seabass."

Then it started again.

How do you block out the distractions that come with the expectations surrounding the team?

"Yeah, we’re focused on one day at a time," Belichick said. "Like I said, I guess I missed some of the big reading you guys have had. Honestly, I don’t really pay any attention to it. Sorry."

No need to apologize, Bill. You're just doing your job.

Other highlights from Wednesday:

Belichick offered his reaction to the alarming Boston University CTE post-mortem study this week published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found positive results in 110 of the 111 brains donated from NFL players.

BB: Well, I think the league addressed it. I don’t really have much to add to the statement that they released. But, obviously, this is an important area that’s being given a lot of attention, as it should.

Q: Do you ever worry about the future of the game when a study like that comes out?

BB: Well, again, there are a lot of studies out there. I’m not really a medical expert. That’s not really my field, so I think I’ll leave that to the people who are doing it.

Belichick also announced that the Patriots will have a one-day walkthrough with the Lions before their preseason game in Detroit on Aug. 25. This is in addition to the joint practices already scheduled for Foxboro with Jacksonville before the preseason opener and the next week in Houston before the Aug. 19 game with the Texans.

Belichick on the consistency of his coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

"Well, we have a lot of consistency on our entire staff," Belichick said. "I thought that was very helpful this year in a relatively short offseason. Those guys were able to – when I say those guys, the entire staff – were able to get into things pretty quickly. There wasn’t really a catching new staff members up or bringing them up to speed or going over things. Pretty much everybody’s been through everything that we’re doing, both in the offseason and the regular season, our game preparation and so forth – not that we don’t have a lot of work to do. I’m not saying that, but at least we have a level of experience of all doing together. So, yeah, it’s good.

"I feel like we have a good staff. I mean, these guys work hard. They all do a good job, and Joe [Judge], Matt and Josh, they do a great job in their respective units, but I think our entire staff does a good job. They work together on their respective sides of the ball. They work together with each other – offense, defense and special teams – in training camp and during the season and so forth. So, it’s a good, cohesive staff that works well together. We have a lot of good people. Yeah, very fortunate."

Stay tuned to CLNS Media. Mike Petraglia and Jeremy Karpf will be covering Patriots Training Camp on Saturday, July 29th.

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