New England Patriots

Belichick brushes off Patriots' rules violation, backs Joe Judge

Bill Belichick went on the defensive Wednesday when asked about the Patriots losing two OTAs.

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Bill Belichick was unusually (and perhaps intentionally) chipper Wednesday morning for a head coach whose team lost two important work days.

The Patriots head coach did his best to downplay the NFL's punishment of New England for a rules violation, which reportedly involved assistant coach Joe Judge scheduling special teams meetings in early May that kept some players at the team facility for longer than the maximum four hours allowed.

"We're looking forward to getting out on the field today," Belichick said when asked if he was on board with what Judge did. "It's all in the past."

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When asked how the Patriots' punishment -- the forfeiture of two days of organized team activities on Thursday, May 25 and Tuesday, May 30 -- Belichick replied:

"Had a good long weekend."

Coming from a man who chanted "No Days Off" at a Patriots Super Bowl parade, that answer was a bit out of character. But if Belichick was upset about losing practice time or peeved at Judge for getting his team in trouble, he certainly didn't show it.

"We're looking forward to getting out there today," Belichick added. "It's in the past. We've moved on."

The Patriots head coach even offered praise for Judge, who is still listed as the team's offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach (the role he served in last season) but is expected to work more with special teams in 2023.

"Yeah, he'll do whatever I ask him to do," Belichick said of Judge. "That might change from time to time. He'll be involved in a lot of things.

" ... Joe's great. Smart guy, got a lot of experience, he'll do whatever we need him to do. And he can do a lot. So, he will."

According to multiple reports, Judge was directly responsible for the Patriots' rules violation: His "voluntary" early-morning special teams meetings appeared on internal schedules, leading an NFL Players Association representative to deem them as closer to mandatory.

Belichick seemed intent on shielding Judge from additional criticism, however, both by brushing off the violation as minor and by taking ultimate responsibility.

"The whole situation is in the past, it's resolved, and we've moved on," Belichick told our Tom E. Curran at the end of his press conference. "Like I said, it was three Phase 2 meetings."

"Look, I'm responsible for it. So that's it."

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