FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (CBSNewYork) — Bill Belichick said Monday he “absolutely” plans to return to the New England Patriots next season.
In a conference call with reporters, the five-time Super Bowl-winning coach was asked about a New York Daily News report that said that he wants to coach the Giants and sees an opening to do so. The report quoted a source close to Belichick.
The Patriots (13-3) will host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night in the AFC divisional playoffs.
“Right now my interest is trying to do the best I can for our football team to get ready for Saturday night against Tennessee,” Belichick said. “That’s where my total focus is.”
An ESPN article by Seth Wickersham on Friday said there has been a rift in the Patriots’ locker room over Brady’s use of trainer Alex Guerrero. Guerrero and Brady have formulated “The TB12 Method,” a fitness and diet guide that Brady believes has been instrumental in helping him play at a high level into his 40s.
After Guerrero was given access to the Patriots’ locker room, many players didn’t know whether to seek advice and treatment from Guerrero or the team’s staff, and that Guerrero would sometimes undermine team doctors, the report said. Belichick has since restricted Guerrero’s access to the team, although he has not barred him from treating Brady and other members of the Patriots.
Meanwhile, Brady has reportedly grown frustrated by Belichick’s increasingly harsh criticism of his play, and the coach’s constant negativity, the report said. He also didn’t like the Patriots’ grooming of 2014 second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo, who has since been traded to San Francisco.
Kraft and Belichick have since had a falling out over that trade, the report said. The owner reportedly ordered the head coach to deal Garoppolo because he was not in New England’s long-term plans. Belichick reluctantly did so, but he has privately fumed over the move because the five-time Super Bowl-winning coach believes he has earned the right to make such team personnel decisions, ESPN reported.
Kraft, Belichick and Brady released a joint statement Friday saying they are unified and calling recent reports about them “unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate.”
When asked Monday about the report calling him “furious and demoralized,” Belichick was dismissive.
“First of all, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Belichick said. ” I don’t know what that refers to. I know you want to report on things that are inaccurate and unattributable, and I’m not interested in responding to those random and I would say, in a lot of cases, baseless comments.”