FOXBORO -- When Kevin Faulk's name pops up in a Bill Belichick press conference, it's no surprise that a smile crosses the Patriots coach's face and a complimentary comment crosses his lips. Faulk helped Belichick and the Patriots win three Super Bowls and he's a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame this year.
When Faulk's name pops up in a Belichick press conference one night after protesting Deflategate on a national stage during the second day of the NFL draft? You can expect much of the same.
"Love Kevin," Belichick said when asked about Faulk wearing a Tom Brady replica No. 12 jersey underneath his suit jacket while announcing New England's second pick of the draft on Friday night. "He always makes good decisions. Looked sharp out there."
As part of an NFL initiative that had former players announce picks for their teams this weekend, Faulk was asked to announce the No. 78 overall selection, which was made on North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney.
"With the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL draft," Faulk said proudly, "the New England Patriots and Tom Brady select . . . Joe Thuney."
Brady is facing a four-game suspension, which was reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week. He and his lawyers have a little over a week to petition the Second Circuit for a rehearing.
When Belichick was asked about the latest Deflategate news on Saturday, he declined to comment, opting to focus on the draft instead.
"I’ll talk about the draft," he said. "You good on that?"
The Patriots draft was of course affected by the Deflategate punishment issued by the league. They were the only team to begin the draft without a first-round pick, but Belichick said that the absence of that choice didn't neccessarily alter the team's philosophy going into the weekend.
"No. You control what you can control," he said. "What we had, we tried to do the best we could. That’s how we approach it, whether it is picking guys or moving positions or trading into next year, whatever it was, we just tried to make the most of it. We traded up, we traded down, we [acquired a fourth-rounder in 2017]. Not saying it was great or anything, we just tried to do the best we could."