During Sunday’s coverage of the Scouting Combine on NFL Network, Patriots coach Bill Belichick made an unexpected visit to the broadcast booth. After lurking at the edge of the camera shot and making remarks to Mike Mayock, who once played for Belichick, Mayock suggested giving Belichick the headset so that he could speak to former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest on the field.
“I’m up here in the press box where I’m usually not,” Belichick said to McGinest, wearing a sweatshirt bearing the former name of his boat, VI Rings. (It’s now VII Rings.) “I haven’t been in the press box since I was in New England in ’96, when I coached the secondary.”
The back-and-forth continued for several minutes, with McGinest and Belichick sharing memories. Belichick smiled through it all, and he came off as the guy that people who know him always say he’s capable of being when he gets away from football.
Along the way, Belichick reminisced about McGinest’s impact in a couple of games against the Colts.
“One of my best memories is right here on this field, when you made the short-yardage stop down there against the Colts, and then the next year we opened with them, and you made the sack that took [Mike] Vanderjagt out of field goal range. And I think that’s where [Mike] Vrabel got them on the fake time out, too, and then they changed the rule on that.”
McGinest pointed out that those Colts stories don’t help him much when he now visits Indianapolis.
“It’s not a warm welcome,” McGinest said. “So I don’t tell those stores when I’m here, only when I’m away from here.”
Belichick said he previously got the same treatment. For a while.
“When I went for it on fourth and one and got stopped,” Belichick said, “ever since then it’s been, ‘Hey Coach, it’s good to see you.'”
It was a moment that was far more interesting than 99.9 percent of the lather-rinse-repeat Combine workouts, and it makes me want to hear more from Belichick when he’s not locked in with the shields up.