From former beat reporter Tom Casale
My Last Day as a New England Patriot
by Tommy Rider on 07/30/2008 1:52 AM
Today I walked out of Gillette Stadium for the final time. While I had a great time working for the Patriots and did things I will remember forever, I'm also extremely excited about the opportunity I have with Pregame. I honestly believe with the people RJ has assembled, the sky is the limit for this company in the coming years. I'm honored to be a part of the Pregame team and foaming at the mouth to finally get at it in a couple of weeks.
Now that my time with the Patriots is over, I'm sure some of you would be interested in info from a guy who worked on the inside of an NFL Dynasty. Before I give out that info, I want to make it clear that nobody in that organization did wrong by me. Bill Belichick never yelled at me and the players were more than accommodating 99 percent of the time. I have no axes to grind with anyone. The things I write below are simply the truth from information I've obtained and observations I've made over the years.
--Tedy Bruschi is much more popular with the fans than he is with his teammates. He isn't the team leader people think he is. Actually, Bruschi rarely talks to any of his teammates. He and Mike Vrabel used to be close but they rarely interact anymore either. Bruschi is just an unlikable person in general and I think his teammates know what's what and get sick of his act. He created an image that he presents to the public but his teammates know better. The real leaders of the Patriots are Tom Brady, Matt Light, Richard Seymour and the top guy, Rodney Harrison. Harrison is actually one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet off the field, which is a total contrast to his sometimes dirty play on it.
--Corey Dillon is about the most miserable piece of **** you would ever want to encounter. You should see the looks and gestures he would give fans when we went on the road. Sometimes an athlete's reputation is blown up by the media but that wasn't the case with Dillon. There is no doubt in my mind that he will end up in jail at some point. You don't have to be a good guy to be a star in the NFL and no one is a better example of that than Dillon.
--Randy Moss is the best player I've ever seen with my own eyes. The guy is a freak and it was an honor to watch him close up the past two years. I don't know what Moss was like in Minnesota and Oakland because I didn't cover him then. However, he's been nothing but a class act since coming to the Patriots. He's actually one of the nicest guys I've come across. He's extremely popular in the locker room and even jokes around and bull****s with practice squad players. Moss was nothing like I thought he would be when he came to New England.
--Hold on for this one: I heard from someone who is close to the case that there is a sex tape of Bill Belichick banging the married woman he had an affair with. I **** you not. The husband who is suing that woman for being unfaithful to him has a tape of his wife and Belichick screwing while the two of them were still married. Belichick is a very powerful man so I imagine he's doing everything in his power to squash this from getting out but it could only be a matter of time. A part of me doesn't want to see it but another part of me can't help but be intrigued.
--Belichick is the best, most well prepared coach on the planet. If you are a Patriots fan, you should love him regardless. However, he's a miserable person. I wish I could say otherwise but I can't. I've seen him on the road, I've flown on planes with him, I've stayed in the same hotels with him and I've seen him interact with others on numerous occasions. He's just miserable. There's no other way to put it. I don't even think most of his players like him, they just put up with him and do everything he says because he's such a great coach and they respect him. The guy may not be a great human being but there is no one else I would want coaching my football team. It doesn't surprise me that Jimmy Johnson and Belichick are close friends. I always trusted Johnson because I knew he would probably kill his mother to win a football game. Belichick is the same way, which makes him a great coach.
--Most of the players and coaches I've met in New England are great. Like any team, there are exceptions. A list of *******s would be Bruschi, Dillon, Willie McGinest, Pierre Woods, Mike Vrabel, Dan Koppen and Stephen Gostkowski. Yes, the kicker. Bruschi is by far the biggest and that seems to be a universal opinion. Sorry but it's true.
The list of good guys is much longer but my personal favorites were Harrison, Moss, Light, Jarvis Green, Deion Branch, David Givens, Ty Warren, Troy Brown, Vince Wilfork, Larry Izzo, Kelley Washington, Donte' Stallworth (A really funny bastard), Jabar Gaffney, Wes Welker and Rosevelt Colvin. I'm sure I left a few guys off that slipped my mind but the above players were always a class act during my time in New England.
That's the straight dope from my years with the Pats. I know some Patriots fans may not like what I had to say, especially about Bruschi and Belichick. But I swear on my life that everything I wrote is the truth and I didn't make anything up to degrade a particular person. As I stated before, no player or coach ever disrespected me in any way. I would have no reason to say things that are untrue. I don't benefit from that in any way. As Bill Belichick would say, "It is what it is." I just call 'em like I see 'em.
I hope you enjoyed a peak inside of one of the greatest NFL teams to ever take the field. I had one hell of a ride and I will never forget my time with the Patriots