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Rehbein’s Death Puts Patriot Problems Into Perspective

Bob George
Bob George on Twitter
22 years ago at 6:21 pm ET
Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Season

SMITHFIELD, R.I. — Ask Pam Rehbein what she thinks of the Terry Glenn situation after today.

While you’re at it, you might ask Betsy Rehbein if Andy Katzenmoyer’s neck is keeping her awake at night. Then head over to Sarabeth Rehbein and see if she’s still getting over the shock of Joe Panos retiring.

Or, go for the real mind-blower. Ask Bill Belichick what he thinks of the aforementioned problems right now.

Up until today, Patriot Camp ’01 has merely been macabre. Now it is totally tragic. Instead of fretting over a cohesive offensive line, now we know how the Vikings feel. Rather than continue the search for the man who’ll replace Chad Eaton, Monday’s practice was canceled. And instead of stressing out over Glenn’s signing bonus, it’s time for shock, mourning and sorrow.

The Patriots now have a clear handle on reality. Nobody cares right now about any dumb Super Bowl. Dick Rehbein passed away today.

Drew Bledsoe’s position coach had a history of heart problems that dated to 1988. He lived with a pacemaker, but today the pacemaker could no longer squeeze his heart valves. Rehbein is dead at only 45 years of age. His wife is now a widow and his daughters lost their dad far earlier than they should have ever expected to do.

Rehbein was hired last year by Belichick to be Bledsoe’s latest quarterback coach, even though he had no prior history as a quarterback coach. According to, Rehbein had a positive impact on Bledsoe in that he suffered a career-low thirteen picks in 2000.

Right now, nobody is thinking one iota about those thirteen picks. Everyone is thinking about only one. Rehbein’s life was intercepted. It’s a pick that renders anything about football totally worthless and meaningless.

The NFL received a cold slap in the face last week when Korey Stringer of the Vikings suffered a brutal case of heatstroke on the practice fields at Mankato, Minn. and died the next morning. Stringer was a high profile all-pro offensive lineman, and his death made national headlines. Rehbein’s death has engendered no such national attention. An assistant coach pales to an all-pro in good newspaper copy, it seems.

Fine. At least the Rehbeins can grieve in peace.

That goes for the Patriot coaches, players and organization as well. Training Camp for 2001 is pretty much unimportant from here on in. Oh, things will get done, all right, but nobody will have visions of a Vince dancing in their heads. At least not anytime soon.

You can also bet that the Patriots have lots of brothers with them in spirit, from all the way off in Mankato. The Vikings also have a training camp that has been permanently altered and stained. The Vikings know how the Patriots feel right now.

It matters not if it is an assistant coach, second-string punter, or a clubhouse boy. Life takes a back seat to nothing and nobody in importance. The Patriots will have nothing except Dick Rehbein on their minds for quite some time now.

And the day will soon come when someone will stand up and dedicate the season to Rehbein. When this happens, some of the spirits will come back. Both the Patriots and Vikings will likely sport some sort of uniform tribute to their fallen brother. And then, teams can get back down to business.

But all this blubber over Glenn’s problems and Katzenmoyer’s neck and all these nagging injuries have clearly been given its due place in total perspective. If we never hear another Terry Glenn story again, forgive me for shouting about a hundred Hallelujahs.

There is no doubt that Glenn has his heap of problems, lots of which were caused by he himself. But Pam Rehbein has far worse problems right now. And right now, Glenn’s problems can go hang. Cut him. Get it done. Throw the bum out. So long as whoever does it doesn’t have to miss Rehbein’s funeral.

Does Katzenmoyer want to play, or doesn’t he? Right now, who cares? The Patriots signed Bryan Cox and Roman Phifer. Even absent of those signings, Kat worrying about his neck is not nearly as immense as how Rehbein’s daughters are going to go on without their dad. Perhaps Kat will get a clearer head after going to the funeral.

Maybe this is a blessing for the Patriots. Nobody should pay these stupid distractions any more heed. If the Patriots let all their emotions flow and pour their hearts out to Rehbein and his family, then dedicate the season to him, Rehbein’s passing might turn into a positive in that it will refocus and galvanize the team.

And if not? Right now, winning is down there with the lowest of all of life’s concerns and priorities. The only important thing right now for the Patriots is to see to the Rehbein family.

Let no man or woman misunderstand what is really important. Instead of root for the Patriots, it’s pray for the Rehbeins. Instead of worrying about Glenn, it’s worry about Rehbein’s survivors. Instead of condemning this training camp for being so problematic, this training camp now becomes Dick Rehbein’s camp.

And nobody could be blamed for anyone taking their sweet time in getting back on with this season. Sooner or later, it will. If it happens to be later, no one’s complaining here.

Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Season
Tags: 2001 Patriots Season Andy Katzenmoyer Bill Belichick Dick Rehbein Drew Bledsoe New England Patriots Terry Glenn

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