Rapid reaction: Belichick's address

July, 24, 2013
7/24/13
4:05
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few thoughts from Bill Belichick's news conference today:

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Belichick seemed to strike the right tone, showing empathy for those affected, expressing personal disappointment and hurt, while also standing by his program and how the team vets players.

The personal touch was different than the norm.

The expectation from here was that Belichick might read an opening statement and maybe take a few questions that he would be advised not to answer because of the legal process.

The end result was a lengthy opening statement (the most meaningful part of his news conference) before he fielded 15 minutes of questions, several of which he didn't answer because of legal considerations.

In the past, when the topic was a player who was no longer with the team, Belichick has often said that he wouldn't comment. His focus was on the players who were present.

This time was different and Belichick approached it that way, mentioning Hernandez's name initially and saying he felt it was important to address it publicly before the team's first training camp practice. He showed emotion that he often doesn't in these settings.

At the same time, he defended his program, noting the hundreds of players who have done the right thing over the years, and mentioned that the foundation of what the team does with player evaluation is unlikely to change. It might be tweaked or modified, he said.

The news conference lasted more than 20 minutes. And while the Hernandez case lingers, Belichick's delivery today marks an important step in the team attempting to move on.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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