If you expected Bill Belichick to shower new Patriots linebacker James Harrison with praise once he walked through that door, the Patriots head coach will disappoint you. In fact, you should expect nothing – which is what you got.
Less than 24 hours after the former Steelers linebacker signed with New England after being waived last Saturday, Belichick faced a flurry of questions about the eye-opening move. But predictably, for anyone who pays attention to how he operates, Belichick had nothing. Gave nothing. Implied nothing.
What did Belichick say about Harrison’s playing style?
“He played outside linebacker for the Steelers.”
Any similarities between what he did for the Steelers and what he could do for the Patriots?
“I don’t know. We’ll start working with him and see how it goes.”
What about his career overall?
Well he must have some familiarity with Harrison from facing him so many times over the years, right?
“Every player is different.”
And someone actually tried to get Belichick to talk about the Steelers and whether Harrison could help the Patriots prepare for his former team.
“We’re playing the Jets this week. I don’t even know what any of that has to do with it. Maybe I’m missing something, I don’t know.”
Bill Belichick and James Harrison: Perfect Match?
Belichick certainly isn’t “missing” that the Patriots signed a player and that he happens to be a former linebacker of their chief rival in the AFC. Harrison could also fill some pass-rushing needs for the Patriots if he shows them something in the next few weeks.
Reporters inevitably had to ask about the signing and try to get something out of Belichick on Wednesday, but it just wasn’t happening. Belichick consistently downplays new faces and swats questions away with “We’ll see how it goes” and other canned answers. It shouldn’t be surprising that Harrison is no exception to that rule. Belichick knows as well as anyone that the move could turn out to be nothing – and that his Steelers knowledge has little to do with preparing for the Jets.
Still, Harrison could also be in position to make plays for the Patriots on passing downs. If he can come up with sacks or pressures at key points of games, a la Akeem Ayers in 2014, his addition to the lineup could be a legit success.
Just don’t expect Belichick to say much about that before anything even happens.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com and devoted fan of Bill Belichick press conferences. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff.