Does Bill Belichick think Mac Jones is a dirty player?
“I’m not gonna get into any of that,” Belichick said.
While several people in the NFL and in the football world debate whether Mac Jones is a dirty player, Bill Belichick wants no part in discussing the matter.
Belichick was asked Wednesday if he thought Jones was a dirty player after the incident with Eli Apple in Week 16, which led the Bengals corner to call him such. Belichick opted not to answer, deferring to other players’ opinions instead.
The Patriots coach was pressed more about the issue on Friday, having a several-question exchange with a reporter over whether Jones is a dirty player.
“Yeah, I’m not gonna sit up here and comment about [it],” Belichick said when asked if Jones was a dirty player. “I mean, we could go through the rest of our roster and ask the same questions, right? About different things about players and all that. So, I’m not gonna get into any of that.”
When Belichick was pressed a bit more about the fact that he didn’t give an opinion on Jones, who has found himself in a bit of controversy for dirty plays, the coach said his focus is on one thing.
“Right now, my focus is on the Miami Dolphins,” Belichick said. “It’s not on some other game, some other play, some other year, what somebody else said or didn’t say. Like, we’re trying to get ready for the Dolphins. And so, that’s where it’s at. So, honestly, I don’t even think about those things.”
Belichick was asked if he ran the risk of alienating Jones and the rest of the team by not giving a strong yes or no answer to the matter. He didn’t think that was an issue, though.
“Yeah, I have a good relationship with all the players,” Belichick said. “I talk to all the players. I talk to the team every day. I talk to players individually on an as-needed basis or anything that’s relevant. So, I feel comfortable with my relationship with every player, every coach, every staff member — if that’s what you’re asking. I feel very comfortable with every one of them.
“So, that’s what I base it on, not what somebody else thinks or what somebody else says. I base my relationships on my direct relationship with that person. That’s what I feel like’s important. Want to construct it differently, then that’s up to you. But that’s not the way I do it.”
Jones, who will reportedly be fined $11,139 for his play on Apple, explained in an interview on WEEI on Monday that he fell into Apple’s legs to prevent him from catching up to Tyquan Thornton and make a block.
Jones also deferred to what other people think when asked what he thought about other players calling him dirty, and, like his coach, turned his attention to the upcoming opponent.
“Everybody has an opinion and the biggest thing for me is focusing on being the best teammate I can be and earning the respect of the people in this building and the people I care about,” Jones said Wednesday. “Obviously, I have respect for everybody around the league. It takes a lot to get to this league. There’s really good players out there, and we’re all playing hard and trying to win. At the end of the day, you have to keep that in mind. It’s a game and you want to just have fun, enjoy it and compete against each other. That’s something that I’ve always done and I know my teammates appreciate that about me.
“So excited about the opportunity this week. Obviously, a great team we get to go against. Another opportunity, you don’t know how many more you’re going to get with this group of guys.”
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