One of the most pivotal decisions of Bill Belichick’s career was the move to cut safety Lawyer Milloy just five days before the start of the 2003 season. Belichick was widely criticized for the move, especially after Milloy signed with the Bills and Buffalo promptly crushed New England 31-0.
But after that Week One debacle, the Patriots went 14-1 the rest of the way and won the Super Bowl. And even Milloy understands now that Belichick always had solid reasons for his team-building moves.
“But, looking back at it from a business standpoint, obviously you are trying to get the most competitive roster that you can and keep that salary down. I understand that part of it,” Milloy said on WEEI.
Still, Milloy did not appreciate Belichick’s handling of it at the time.
“I was there seven years — and helped really build it from the ground up to ultimately being a champion,” Milloy said. “I think I went to my fourth Pro Bowl in five years and then I was given an ultimatum: either take a pay cut or leave it. . . . Guys get released or have these situations come up all the time, it was just the way he handled it, trying to wait until the Monday before the first game, which really disgusted me.”
Milloy played his best years for Belichick, and it’s not surprising he didn’t want to get cut the way he did. But Belichick has a track record of making the right moves, and that proved to be one of them.