FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick opened his press conference on Wednesday by remembering Don Brocher, the team's longtime equipment manager who died on Monday.
"As a football team, organization, were saddened by the loss of Donny this weekend," Belichick began. "In a game where we all saw what changes were made on Monday throughout the league for somebody to be here for 40 years, doing the job that he did for so many owners, coaches, general managers, you name it, players, is really a tribute to his dedication, consistency, dependability and the quality of the work that he did.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Laurie and his family. Hes a guy that six months ago when (former assistant equipment manager) John Hillebrand went to Jacksonville, (Brocher) sat in my office and he talked about how good he was feeling, how much he was looking forward to a few more years on the job and doing some other things that he was looking forward to. Six months later we are where we are today."
Brocher, 60, began working for the Patriots as a ball boy on the equipment managers staff in 1972 and was hired full-time as an assistant that season, according to the Patriots media relations staff.
He remained a member of the teams equipment staff since then and was promoted from assistant to equipment manager in February of 1994, shortly after Robert Kraft purchased the team. He was entering his 19th season as equipment manager and his 41st season overall with the Patriots when he was diagnosed with leukemia in June of 2012.
"Don was here for the San Francisco game," noted Belichick. "I dont think anybody really had a sense of the physical and mental toughness that he displayed that night just by being here and doing his job and being here for us in that type of situation. But that was kind of Donny. He was never one to complain, never one to talk about how he was doing, he was just there to help the rest of us."
When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening.
On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.
Talk about intimidation.
Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.
Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.
Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon.
"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."
Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.
Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.
Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there.
For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."