By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — Since taking on as head coach 20 years in the past, Invoice Belichick has served double obligation because the group’s de facto basic supervisor.
It’s fairly a little bit of energy for Belichick, however permitting the coach to “store for the groceries” is one thing Robert Kraft realized firsthand as the simplest method to keep away from battle with the on-field chief of the group.
That being mentioned, Invoice will not be at all times absolutely autonomous in relation to opening up the Patriots’ purse strings. In sure situations, he has wanted to hunt approval from the large boss … and likewise from the quarterback.
That’s type of how the chain of command regarded final 12 months round this time, when the Patriots jumped to signal Antonio Brown shortly after he was launched by the Oakland Raiders after a summer season spent inflicting downside after downside for Oakland. These outbursts got here after Brown induced downside after downside after downside for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who unceremoniously dumped one of many best receivers the franchise has ever had.
Regardless of the plain pink flags, Belichick wished Brown. And as detailed within the new e-book “The Dynasty” by Jeff Benedict, which was launched on Tuesday, Belichick needed to persuade the Krafts that Brown was well worth the bother.
To be up-front, this was a retelling that clearly got here from the Kraft facet of issues. It’s attainable that Belichick’s recollection of the method is just a little bit totally different, however Belichick instructed WEEI on Monday that exterior of answering a couple of questions through e mail from the creator, he “had a really minimal interplay with” Benedict.
Nonetheless, the story goes like this.
As quickly as Brown was granted his launch from the Raiders, Kraft assumed that Belichick would have an interest. Leaping on the likelihood so as to add a high-talent participant at a discount value is, in any case, a staple of the 20-year dynasty.
“The second that the Raiders minimize Brown, Kraft anticipated he’d get a name from Belichick,” Benedict wrote early within the e-book. “After being collectively for therefore lengthy, he knew how Belichick rolled.”
When Kraft did get that decision from Belichick on a Saturday afternoon, the Patriots proprietor was skeptical.
In response to the story, Belichick argued, “I don’t suppose he’s actually that dangerous to cope with.” When Kraft mentioned that Belichick’s lack of non-public relationship with Brown was a threat, Belichick apparently mentioned, “I’m probably not fearful about that.”
“He’s a reasonably good child,” Belichick pleaded to Kraft, in accordance with the e-book. “Doesn’t drink. Doesn’t smoke. I’m not conscious of any home violence.”
At that time, Kraft — the proprietor of the franchise and the person accountable for the complete operation — made a cellphone name to seek the advice of on this specific choice.
Kraft referred to as Tom Brady.
In response to Benedict, “one among his greatest frustrations lately had been the way in which key personnel selections that affected the offense had been made with out enter from [Brady].”
“It aggravated Brady that after 20 years because the group’s quarterback, he nonetheless wasn’t part of the dialog earlier than vital strikes had been made,” so the 42-year-old quarterback respect the session.
Brady, as Kraft disclosed on the time, was “one thousand % in” on the Patriots signing Brown.
That was the clinching endorsement for Kraft, who knew that it could be Brady’s closing 12 months in New England and whose “precedence was to increase the magic for just a little longer.”
“That is dangerous,” Robert Kraft mentioned on a cellphone name to his son, Jonathan. “Invoice doesn’t know Brown. If Tom was ambivalent, I wouldn’t help it.”
From there, Belichick was free to make the deal. It was struck. The soccer world reacted.
It didn’t work out.
Simply days after the signing was made, a lady filed a civil lawsuit accusing Brown of sexual assault and rape. A Sports activities Illustrated article got here out the day after Brown made his Patriots debut, a narrative which alleged sexual misconduct by Brown. The receiver then despatched textual content messages that would simply be thought-about threatening to that accuser.
On Sept. 20, simply 13 days after the frenzied rush to signal him, the Patriots had no selection however to launch Brown. The receiver would later take some private pictures at Kraft through social media, whereas expressing gratitude to Belichick and Brady.
Contemplating that even Invoice Belichick couldn’t make it work with Brown, the remainder of the NFL stayed away for the rest of the season. Brown was formally suspended for half of the 2020 season, and whether or not probably the most prolific receiver in NFL historical past ever performs one other snap stays in critical doubt.
READ: New Particulars On Tom Brady’s Grotesque 2018 Hand Harm Are Form Of Superb
From a Patriots perspective, the Brown saga reveals that the chain of command for a signing of that nature was not significantly tenable in the long run. The coach calling the proprietor for permission, just for the proprietor to name the quarterback, whom the coach hasn’t consulted for years in relation to personnel strikes — it’s not the principled, basic, and arranged course of which we’ve seen information the group by the unprecedented two-decade run of success.
When the e-book was introduced this previous spring, it promised “unique entry to the Patriots.” Whereas the Antonio Brown scenario was only one very temporary second within the grand scheme of Patriots issues, that glimpse backstage helps present how determined the decision-makers in Foxboro had been to squeeze yet one more 12 months out of a run that had already lasted longer than it had any enterprise lasting.
You possibly can e mail Michael Hurley or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.