FOXBORO, MA — NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue decided on Thursday that the league would cancel the upcoming games that were scheduled for this weekend, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will turn his attention from Carolina to the New York Jets who will be coming to Foxboro next Sunday.
Belichick said on Thursday that he understands the league’s decision and is fully supportive of it.
“I think that given all of the circumstances and the situations involved I think everybody fully understands why we did what we did and we are supportive of it,” said Belichick. “What we are going to do is we are going to take the next two days, Friday and Saturday [off].”
“We are closing our offices, we’re closing business down here for the 48 hours, but I told the players and the coaches that this would be a time for us to reflect and grieve and then try to put it behind us.”
“We will bring the players back in ready to go to work on Tuesday. That will be our first full day of preparation for the Jets. We may do a little light running on Monday, just to get the blood flowing. That’s our schedule for the week. We stopped our preparations for Carolina once we found out the news of the change in plans.”
The NFL’s decision goes along with the thoughts of many players who weren’t exactly thrilled about the idea of both playing this weekend, as well as those who would have had to get on a plane to reach their destination. Belichick said he could sense a feeling of relief regarding the decision.
“I’d say that’s fair [that the players may be relieved by the decision],” said Belichick. “I don’t know, that’s a tough one though. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to play. I wouldn’t characterize it that way, but there are bigger issues than a football game. I think that probably would have been in the back of some of their minds, maybe all of them. I can’t speak for them.”
“I can see both sides of it. It is not really a decision that I was thinking a lot about. I was thinking more about preparing the team for Carolina. I understand why [the decision] was made and I support it.”
For now, there is no word when or if the games scheduled for this weekend will be made up.
As for the Patriots, it may be a good thing that Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers was in fact canceled. They are still without linebacker Roman Phifer and Greg Robinson-Randall who both went home to Los Angeles and Texas respectively. Belichick said he talked to them Wednesday night as well as on Thursday and was informed that they would begin making progress to Carolina by car. Now it will be a little more difficult, especially for Phifer who would obviously be heading back to Foxboro all the way from California.
“I talked to both players last night and then we had people in the organization talk to them today and their plans were, because of the uncertainty of flying and the unavailability of flying that they were going to start to make progress to Carolina as their destination either by car, bike or foot whatever,” said Belichick. “I told them to be closer today than they were yesterday and closer tomorrow than they were today. We got back in touch with them a few minutes ago and now are trying to do basically do the same thing, but to work them back towards Boston rather than the Charlotte destination [is going to be much more difficult].”
Belichick said that it’s not going to be easy for them to find an alternate form of transportation, considering the fact that everyone else who was stranded following Tuesday’s tragedy has already filled the trains and buses.
“The trains are full,” said Belichick. “The travel agents I am sure have people backed up forever on lists. Bus transportation isn’t that easy either. We did have a couple of players that were flying from relatively close over the past weekend and ended up driving 10, 12, 13 hours whatever it was and got back that way.”
“It is a little further than that from California, but I think we can expect them here by Monday.”
GLENN BACK IN THE FOLD
Arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled in Glenn’s favor on Tuesday and reinstated him to the Patriots’ active roster in time for the team’s fifth game, saying that the Patriots failed to give the receiver enough time to return for a meeting after he informed them back on Aug. 14 that he was ready to meet with them. The Patriots officially placed Glenn on the reserve-left camp list Aug. 15.
Belichick said he was neither surprised nor disappointed by the decision.
“I wasn’t surprised or disappointed by that decision,” said Belichick. “I had a situation in training camp and I felt that I followed the rules that were in place at the time and made a decision based on what I felt was in the best interest of our football team.”
“We will certainly abide by it and comply with it.”
“When Terry is able to return to the team and I’m not sure exactly when that is based on [Sunday’s games being canceled], but whenever that is we will resume working with him and he will resume working with the team. That is really about as much as I feel like I can say about it. There are still some other proceedings pending in this case. Some I’m involved in, some I’m not, but nevertheless, I think that is probably about as far as I can go at this point.
When asked whether or not he would welcome Glenn back, Belichick said that he wouldn’t comment any further regarding Glenn. He didn’t have any personal issues with Glenn, but simply said that there were still some other things pending regarding the case.
Glenn should have been eligible to return to the active roster on October 1st, and play that week at Miami. With the cancellation of Sunday’s game that return should be pushed back a week.
Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Season
Tags: 2001 NFL Season 2001 Patriots Season Bill Belichick New England Patriots New York Jets Terry Glenn