Bill Belichick is not a man to be trifled with.
Belichick has a long-standing rule about punctuality: If a player does not report to the facility on time, that player will not get to practice that day.
Even though Gray has since apologized to Bill Belichick and his teammates, his absence from training was heavily scrutinized.
His absence has only further fueled speculation as to what will become of the breakout New England running back. Though he had an outstanding performance against the Indianapolis Colts, a definite starting position doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 20, 2014
In a true Bill Belichick maneuver, rather than buy into media hype following the pivotal game, the coach moved to re-sign LeGarrette Blount.
Is Bill Belichick going to use Blount rather than Gray? Will Gray have a definite starting position with Blount as a backup?
Exactly what does Bill Belichick have planned for these players?
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 21, 2014
Bill Belichick remained vague when asked these questions, saying that Blount’s role in the team was pretty much “up to him”.
“What [Blount] can do with those opportunities will determine how many more there are,” said Belichick. “It’s totally up to him. He knows that. We’ve talked about that.”
He added that LeGarrette is “excited” about the opportunity to make a big impression.
His making the most of opportunities may not have just been about the resigned running back, but a subtle answer to the Gray situation was well.
One can’t argue against the huge impression he made versus the Colts. But with Bill Belichick, opportunity doesn’t begin and end with NFL games; practices count as well.
It’s doubtful the talent has been written off, and he will likely feature again.
But it’s never a good idea to presume anything with Bill Belichick of all people.