New England Patriots

By Matt McCarthy,

Bill Belichick famously loved the play of former Ravens safety Ed Reed so much that Tom Brady once joked that Belichick wanted to kidnap Reed and make him his son.

Now that Reed has retired, it’s safe to suggest that Rams punter Johnny Hekker is on the shortlist for Belichick’s favorite player in the NFL.

Man, does he gush about this guy.

Belichick was complimentary of both Hekker and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein, who has one of the strongest legs in the NFL.

“Every kicking play is an explosive play potentially for the Rams,” the coach said. “Zuerlein’s field goals were the difference in the championship game. Hekker is a tremendous player. Great athlete. He’s a weapon.”

Belichick made headlines two years ago when he went on and on about Hekker’s talent ahead of their matchup with the Rams that year. The Rams finished 4-12 in 2016, and many joked that they were so bad that Hekker was the only player Belichick could find on the team that was worthy of compliments.

“Hekker is a tremendous weapon,” The Hoodie said two years ago. “This guy looks like as good a player as I’ve ever seen at that position.”

I wonder how Ryan Allen feels about Bill talking about another punter this way?

You can hear Matt McCarthy on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.