Lawyer Milloy was “disgusted” by Bill Belichick cutting him, understands it now

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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.

19 responses to “Lawyer Milloy was “disgusted” by Bill Belichick cutting him, understands it now

  1. Readlng the whole interview from the link to get the whole context. What fried Milloy (and would fry me) is that Belichick told him in June that (paraphrased) ‘worst case, you play out the season as is’, and then the Friday a week before the opener he tells him (paraphrase) ‘you take a pay cut or you walk’ and gave him the weekend to think about it.

    I understand circumstances can change, and we’re all adults here (as a boss of mine used to say), but that seems harsh. That said, Milloy seems to have gotten over it. Kudos to him.

  2. Kiss the ring now or kiss the ring later. Eventually they all return to admire the wisdom of the Hoodie.

  3. Because, even a Raider fan like me realizes that BB is always looking to upgrade.
    He ALWAYS goes with who gives him the best chance to win.
    He doesn’t give a damn about this “diversity” bs.

  4. I can see Milloy’s point. I think Belichick has gotten a lot better at this kind of thing since then though. The Patriots still won’t overpay, however, they seem to make an effort to let guys go elsewhere in the best way possible for them. Which is still self-serving, as it makes them a more desirable destination for free agents to sign.

  5. No other coach would have had the sack to cut a person like Milloy or any of the big names from their teams. That’s why teams constantly overpay for past performance and why NE has been, and will continue to be, a dynasty as long as BB calls the shots. Look at the disaster in Dallas!

  6. I don’t disagree with Milloy being upset at how his time ended in NE. But, as he understands now, the cap is what the cap is, and often the results are that painful decisions arise. But the fact is that there can’t be anyone with a brain who can argue with the results of MOST of Bill’s decisions over the last 20 years.

    Over the course of the last 2 decades despite picking at the end of every round and NEVER having copious amounts of cap space, he has maintained the epitome of excellence in Foxboro. He has defied the system that is supposed to minimize long term excellence into 3 or 4 year runs. His results are so stunning they have become expected.

    If he had been a bit more farseeing Lawyer might have taken a bit less and added a few more rings to his total. Instead he took the money (not that that was a bad idea), and had one game of supreme satisfaction and 8 years of looking at the playoffs mostly from the outside looking in.

  7. The Pats are one of the only teams that can say “either play for us for less or there’s the door”! The “no fun” team has racked up the titles(9 SB appearances, 6 Lombardi’s, 13 division championships, 9 AFC Championships in 20yrs) to be able to do that, Lane Johnson be damned, I guess all the hard work pays a hell of a lot more dividends than “HAVING FUN”!

  8. Bill brought in Rodney Harrison for half the money, Lawyer went on to make over 15 million the next 7 years so it worked out for him

  9. BTW I’m the first one to laugh at teams like Dallas, Philly, Seattle and all the others that think they need all these high dollar players(KC you’re on deck) or they have to sign so&so no matter the cost in order to win and then they have average/below average seasons and are watching the Playoffs from home, all while maxing out the cap and being in cap hell for years, when will they learn?

    Bill has laid a blue-print out there and it shows you don’t need all these top dollar players although being cap strapped is OK as long as you are strapped because you built an entire team, not just wasted huge amounts of the money on just a few positions.

    Eagles take notes, starting next year you’re in cap hell for a few years from signing all those huge contracts the last couple of years(KC is on-deck), thing is a lot of those players ended up on the bench injured, now what good were they? Absolutely NONE!

  10. Though Milloy could still play at the time, Belichick got lucky in landing Rodney Harrison, while having an excellent rookie in Eugene Wilson … had both not met expectations, the criticism would have been more justified, but Harrison became a clutch leader from day one, and should be in the HOF …

  11. There are two ways of making the right move. There’s making the right move and acknowledging a play’s contribution, sacrifices, and feelings. Then there’s making the right move and being a dick about. BB is invariably a dick about it.

  12. Getting rid of the high priced veteran whose contract is coming up and replacing him with a draft pick only works if you consistently make good picks and they pan out. Where BB excels is trading down and collecting picks AND then finding players in the later rounds.
    Not always easy to do and certainly not a blueprint that everyone can copy, or they would! It is a copy cat league after all. I also think that he found lightening in a bottle and will not enjoy the same success with TB12 leading the team. Time will tell, but all dynasties eventually peter out. – even this one…

  13. No other coach would have had the sack to cut a person like Milloy or any of the big names from their teams.
    —————-
    ranks right up there with his giving that first super bowl start to brady after bledsoe relieved him in afc championship at pittsburg. after the boston media experts had to eat that ton of crow in 2001 they pounced on the miloy opportunity and ended up eating another mega —t ton. god i loved it.

  14. The Noble Prize says:
    May 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm
    Kiss the ring now or kiss the ring later. Eventually they all return to admire the wisdom of the Hoodie.
    ——-

    The part I will never get about this is that he refused to take a pay cut with the Pats as he was making 5 mill a year, and then signs the next day at 4 years for 15 mill to a division rival. I get it was because they picked up Rodney Harrison they could let him go, but weird that he takes a pay cut immediately from a division rival.

    It set them up better down the road, but they gained little by doing it at the time.

    Bill is the greatest football coach ever and with that he gets the GM control as well. He is FAR from a genius GM. He can bring in great FA’s for his system, but when it comes to the draft he just has sucked at picking great players, ESPECIALLY on offense. His recent trades have been, well, not good.

  15. People (Pats fans) praising BB are, perhaps intentionally, mixing issues. The issue is NOT whether it’s wrong to cut higher priced vets in favor of cheaper young players, or to try to lower salary costs. No sane person can criticize that and every thoughtful fan understands this.

    The issue is saying one thing to a player, then doing something very different. THAT is slimy, at best.

  16. He is FAR from a genius GM

    Then there are none, because he’s paced the field.

  17. The Pats are one of the only teams that can say “either play for us for less or there’s the door”! The “no fun” team has racked up the titles(9 SB appearances, 6 Lombardi’s, 13 division championships, 9 AFC Championships in 20yrs) to be able to do that, Lane Johnson be damned, I guess all the hard work pays a hell of a lot more dividends than “HAVING FUN”!
    ———————
    Steve it was easy to say that when you had the greatest qb of all time playing for you, good luck telling guys to take less now though

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