HOUSTON -- When Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was contemplating trading five picks -- including two first-rounders and a second -- to move up and take Julio Jones in 2011, his former boss advised against it.
“Thomas, I’m just telling you as a friend,” Belichick said, as documented in Michael Holley’s “War Room” book. “I wouldn’t do it.”
So if it didn’t already seem like a ballsy move for Dimitroff to part with all those picks already, imagine how ballsy it must have felt after being told by a Hall of Fame team-builder that it was a bad idea.
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“[I have a] great deal of respect for Bill,” Dimitroff said Monday night. “At the end of that conversation, when I thought to myself I’d hit a crossroads, three years into the league that I was not necessarily going the same direction that he was advising. I thought, ‘I guess I’ve really kind of grown up here,’ because that’s not an easy thing to do, is listen to someone as football intelligent and rounded as Bill [and go against it]. So that was a really interesting point in my career.”
Thanks to Cleveland’s incompetence with the picks, the trade has proven to be a complete slam-dunk for Atlanta, who boasted the No. 1 offense in the NFL this season en route to a chance to play for the city’s first Super Bowl title.
It’s hard to imagine Bill Belichick is a guy who likes to admit when he’s wrong. He was in this case not only because Jones became a star, but because Jonathan Baldwin, whom Holley noted Belichick thought was just as good if not better, didn’t prove to be much of an NFL player at all.
So… has Belichick ever brought up that conversation since?
“No, he has not,” Dimitroff said. “We’ve not ever talked about it. He knows that we have some good speed and talent on our team. I’ll let him answer those questions, for sure.”
Dimitroff suggesting that Belichick would answer those questions further underscores that he really has been gone from New England for a long time.