The Patriots decided to release Vice President of Player Personnel Bobby Grier on Monday, ending his 18-year tenure with New England. It’s kind of interesting considering it happened several weeks after the draft.
Head coach Bill Belichick joined the team late after his old team, the New York Jets, made his life difficult and kept him from assuming the role as Patriots head coach until New England gave up their first round pick in this year’s draft. After getting here late and trying to put together his staff, it left Belichick little time to scout all the promising prospects who were available. Thanks to Grier and the rest of the personnel staff, the new Patriots coach got all the info he needed and hopefully made the right decisions. Now even if he did, Grier won’t be around to take any of the credit.
But it’s not like Patriot nation couldn’t see this coming. It’s impossible for the two of them to coexist, and what happened was simply a move that was inevitable. Scott Pioli will most likely replace Grier in time, and now there will be no controversy over who will be making the personnel decisions when the draft rolls around next year.
I guess you’d say the 1997 draft put the nail in Grier’s coffin. Players such as Chris Canty, Damon Denson, Sedrick Shaw and Vernon Crawford are names that are no longer even listed on the Patriots roster. Ed Ellis recently arrived home from Barcelona Spain after experiencing problems with the NFL Europe Dragons. Belichick doesn’t appear too happy with the third year lineman, and his release would finish off a draft which didn’t even yield one starter. The Patriots coach has yet to make a final ruling, but with the lack of depth at the offensive line position, Ellis may still squeak by and remain with the team.
There was also the issue last season of players going behind former head coach Pete Carroll’s back, and heading down to Grier’s office when things weren’t going well for them. Terry Glenn was reportedly a repeat offender, and now both he and others will have to confront Belichick with any concerns they have.
Probably not likely.
But what’s the story with Glenn? The last we heard regarding the star receiver was his request to renegotiate a long-term deal with the team. The story lasted only several days and hasn’t been mentioned since.
It’s a curious thought to say the least.
If one had to make an assumption, it’s probably safe to guess that when Belichick caught wind of Glenn’s intentions, he was most likely summoned into Belichick’s office for a closed door meeting. One has to believe that Belichick didn’t appreciate the request considering the fact that he had just lifted a fine placed on him by Pete Carroll. Considering Glenn’s history, he still has to prove that he can handle the role of being the go to guy, and that he can remain injury free for an entire season.
To be fair, the fact that if such an event did occur, Glenn appears to understand the task ahead of him and will most likely work hard during the off season with the intent of finally building on the outstanding season he had in 1996. He currently has two-years left on his contract, and will most likely receive an extension from New England at the end of the year in the event he returns to his old form.
But Glenn is no longer the real source of attention right now. Ed Ellis’ recent departure from NFL Europe has Patriot Nation very disappointed in a player who has shown much promise during his time in Europe. Ellis reportedly had a hard time dealing with being away from home, and was also apparently involved in several skirmishes with his teammates. It’s very disappointing considering how well Ellis had performed, and it will be interesting to see what happens to him.
Well one thing is certain, you can’t say that the offseason hasn’t been interesting. It’s hard to believe that training camp is a little over two months away, and with all of the offseason moves that New England has made, including the release of Ben Coates, Bruce Armstrong, and now the firing of Grier, one thing is abundantly clear:
This is Bill Belichick’s team.
Anyone who challenges that should know the consequences by now.