You Don’t Say: Bill Belichick happy to have former Bears

SHARE You Don’t Say: Bill Belichick happy to have former Bears

Patriots coach Bill Belichick drew a crowd at the NFL owners meetings. (AP)

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Patriots coach Bill Belichick believes that former Bears linebacker Shea McClellin and tight end Martellus Bennett can help his team.

Just don’t ask him where, why or how.

“I’ll say the same thing about all the players that we’ve acquired,” Belichick said Tuesday during the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. “We did things that we feel like will help our football team, and we’ll see how it goes.”

That was a common refrain from Belichick, who began his meeting with the media by shoving away microphones and recorders.

Bill Belichick don’t like no stinkin’ microphones. Too funny #nfl — Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) March 22, 2016

What does Belichick specifically like about Bennett?

“We’re happy to add all the players that we’ve added to our team,” he said. “We’ll put them out there and see how it goes.”

What does he see in McClellin?

“We add all the players that we added to our team [because] we felt like they could help our team,” Belichick said. “That’s why we added them, and we’ll see how it goes.”

All that said (or not), the Patriots’ decisions to add McClellin and Bennett are intriguing.

McClellin was the Bears’ first-round pick in 2012, but he has struggled to find a permanent position, playing three different ones under three different defensive coordinators.

The 2015 season started off well for McClellin, but a sprained knee ligament and a concussion cut off his momentum. Still, McClellin remained on the Bears’ radar in free agency because of coordinator Vic Fangio’s faith in him.

McClellin often said he felt comfortable in Fangio’s 3-4 defense. He was tabbed as the defense’s signal-caller and confidence improved.

But there were other suitors in free agency — McClellin visited the Jets and Seahawks before signing with the Patriots — and the Bears signed Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. McClellin signed a three-year deal with the Patriots, which includes $3.5 million guaranteed in the first year.

Did the Patriots’ draft evaluation of McClellin play a role in signing him?

“We take everything into consideration to evaluate players,” Belichick said. “I don’t know. Everything’s a factor.”

The Bears traded Bennett and a sixth-round pick (No. 204) to the Patriots for a fourth-round selection (No. 127). It was considered a successful move for the Bears. Releasing Bennett was an option if the Bears couldn’t move him in a trade.

After his failed pursuit of a new contract, Bennett wanted out of Chicago, and the Bears were happy to oblige. Bennett was a productive player, but the mercurial tight end’s words and actions were a problem for two coaching staffs at Halas Hall.

Why is Belichick confident that Bennett will fit with the Patriots?

“I’ve answered that question five times,” he said.

But the Bears were ready to move on from Bennett because of his well-known off-the-field issues …

“Shoot,” Belichick said. “Go talk to the Bears then.”

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