FOXBORO, MA — With the draft approaching it appears that any urgency to trade Drew Bledsoe is the farthest thing from Bill Belichick’s mind.
In his pre-draft press conference on Thursday he told reporters that he personally hasn’t talked to any teams about a trade for the former franchise quarterback, and he’ll be surprised if anything happens between now and next weekend.
“I have not talked to anybody about any trades,” said Belichick. “There’s always conversations about personnel and that’s part of Scott (Pioli)’s job. If something substantial comes up I’m sure that we’ll talk about it, and to this point really nothing has. I’m not looking to do anything.”
“I don’t have any expectations. Right now what I’m trying to do is get ready for the draft and make sure that we’re ready to make the decisions that we need to make on draft day. I would be very surprised if anything, and not that we’re looking to do anything I’m not saying that, I would be very surprised if anything happened before the draft in that area.”
Bills President Tom Donahoe however has confirmed in several published reports that talks with the Patriots have taken place, and it appears that whatever it is the Pats hope to receive, New England isn’t going to back down on any of their demands. In an article on the Cincinnati Bengals official website on Tuesday Donahoe said that, “We’re frustrated with how the talks are going. We can’t get anywhere and it’s been frustrating for us.”
But whatever offers they may have made for Bledsoe’s services seem to be insignificant in the eyes of Belichick. While it may be a posturing move, it appears that he is fully prepared to open camp with Bledsoe still in a Pats uniform in the event that teams simply won’t come forward with a ransom worthy of setting him free.
Needless to say if that’s what it comes to, he expects to see Bledsoe in training camp. Will Bledsoe be given the opportunity to compete for his job? It’s tough to say. All Belichick would say on the subject is what he’s said all along, and that is he’ll play the best players.
“The players that are under contract, I expect them to be in training camp,” said Belichick. “We expect to work with them at that point, that’s really all there is about it. I have never said anything but that, and my position hasn’t changed and neither has anything else. That’s my position, and that’s really all I have to say about it.”
“I think we’ve seen that we’re going to play the best players. That’s what our philosophy has been, and that’s what it’s going to be. That’s not about any player in particular, it’s about all the players at all the positions. There’s nothing that has changed there either.”
As of right now there are only two players that haven’t communicated directly with Belichick regarding the offseason program. One is Bledsoe, who gave every indication he wouldn’t be here after not missing one during his entire tenure with the team. The other is linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer.
“We have two players that really have not given us any indication or communication about their participation in the offseason program,” said Belichick. “Everybody else has, and basically they’re all here working hard, or we understand what their situation is why they’re not here.”
“We’ve talked to all those players, there are two that aren’t [here], and that’s their choice, it’s voluntary.”
Will it hurt Bledsoe’s chances to compete for his job because he’s not here for the offseason program? Wide receiver Terry Glenn was listed near the bottom of the depth chart and had to work his way back up when he failed to show up during the offseason last year prior to his suspension. Imagine Bledsoe being listed behind Damon Huard and working with the 3rd-string offense during training camp. It would be a recipe for disaster, and would definitely present Belichick and the rest of the team with a difficult situation.
Belichick certainly must know this, but nevertheless he remained steadfast at even the notion of Bledsoe not being here next season.
“I don’t know where anybody’s going,” said Belichick. “They’re all under contract so I would expect them to be at training camp.”
Doesn’t look like he thinks Bledsoe is going anywhere.
The stare down has begun.