Mike Florio’s ProFootballTalk.com generally is a site that likes to stir the pot a bit, and it appears that’s what they’re up to on this Friday after pointing out a story that ran in the Dayton Daily News on former Patriot Chad Eaton.
Bill Belichick (pictured from his days in Cleveland) and former Patriot Chad Eaton together when they were with the Browns. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
In the article Eaton, who played for Bill Belichick during his days as a member of the Cleveland Browns, revealed that Belichick would slip him a little extra money on the side to get him to start a fight in practice to liven things up.
“If practice was going slow, he’d look at me and just say, ‘It’s time,’ ” Eaton said. “He wanted me to get on somebody’s (case) and start a little fight. I was known for that and it paid off on Fridays. There’d always be some extra money in my locker. Practice players don’t make much, so I really appreciated it.”
I thought it was strange that they’re comparing this to the same bombshell dropped by former Boston Herald beat writer John Tomase regarding the accusation that they had filmed the Rams walkthrough – which came out the day before the Patriots were set to battle the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
There’s no comparison, because this practice is something that coach’s have admitted has happened dating all the way back to the early years. In fact, I was pretty sure I had heard about Belichick doing this before, and Chad Finn of the Boston Globe found the article I was thinking of, which was written by former Globe beat writer Nick Cafardo.
In the piece Cafardo pointed out that it was a fight started by then offensive lineman Rob Gatrell with Lawyer Milloy that helped spark the team, with players admitting it helped lift them to a win.
A midweek brawl might have been the emotional lift the Patriots needed in executing a 16-13 victory over the Bengals yesterday at Foxboro Stadium.According to a source close to the situation, Patriots coach Bill Belichick paid practice squad offensive lineman Rob Gatrell $200 to go after Lawyer Milloy in practice Thursday.
Milloy was chosen because he’s considered the most emotional, toughest, and meanest player on the defense. Milloy responded just as Belichick hoped, going after Gatrell and creating a massive brawl that involved up to 30 players – offensive vs. defensive. Smaller fights ensued throughout practice.
“It was one of the best practices we’ve had this season,” said one Patriot. “It’s exactly what we needed. I think we played with a lot of emotion and fire, no question.”
Needless to say trying to put a spotlight on a situation that happened 15-years ago – and one that is common practice even now with other teams – seems kind of ridiculous. However, reading the comments by many of the readers, the average person responding seems to believe it’s an egregious violation.
We’ve also even recently heard about Jets head coach Rex Ryan doing something similar – which most people laughed about – because obviously it didn’t involve the Patriots.
It’s likely Eaton had no idea the little anecdote that he thought he was joking about would turn into something bigger than it needed to be. But then again the idea of scouting other team’s signals wasn’t exactly revolutionary, but we all know how that argument tends to turn out.
So this will likely turn into much ado about nothing, while still creating plenty of noise in the meantime.