If there was ever a player with reason to be bitter, Tiquan Underwood might be the guy.
The receiver with the distinctive high top fade was released by the Patriots the day before the Super Bowl, making him a national martyr for those looking for an example of how mean Bill Belichick was.
Only problem? Underwood didn’t see it that way.
“Not at all,” Underwood said, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “The thing I love about Coach Belichick, he does what’s best for the team every week for that game. The object in this league is to win the game. He did that and he’s gonna continue to do that, day in and day out each week. As a player, you can’t be on the back half of the roster because that’s where tough decisions have to be made. I respect him because no matter what game it is, what week it is, he’s gonna do that.
“I want to be one of the guys in the front part of the roster.”
After he was re-signed and cut again over the summer, Underwood latched on with his old college coach Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay. He leads the Bucs this preseason with three catches for 76 yards in two games.
Underwood said there were “a lot of similarities” between Belichick and Schiano.
“They’re tough coaches, they know what they want, they demand a lot from their players,” he said. “Coming here helped me because it was a smooth transition.
“They [the Patriots] are a great organization. I’m just thankful to have played there for the time I did. I learned so much as a player and as a person. It’s no secret why they’re so successful. Those guys work so hard, the attention to detail and that’s really helped me as a player. I’ve brought it down here and I’m trying to work on my craft.”
Truth is, Underwood’s in a much better position to make a regular season roster with the Bucs, even though his chances of being anywhere near a Super Bowl went down considerably.