New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told reporters earlier this week that he is friends with rapper Meek Mill. Why? Apparently, the rapper texted him to inform him that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would like to play for his team. Kraft told reporters that he told head coach Bill Belichick it would be up to him.
Jackson is currently unsigned. The Ravens applied a non-exclusive franchise tender on him, which means that other teams can attempt to sign him if they are willing to forfeit two-first round picks to the Ravens. While many might feel that’s a fair price for his talents, a former Patriots standout warns it would not be worth it for Jackson.
Former Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel commented on the situation via Twitter yesterday, writing simply, “Lamar Jackson, my brother trust me you don’t want to play for Belichick”.
Drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round in 2003, Samuel played his first five NFL seasons in New England under Belichick, becoming a starter in his third season. He recorded 22 interceptions during his time there, including an NFL-high 10 in 2006, along with 79 passes defensed in that span.
He also won two Super Bowl titles there. But evidently he rather enjoyed the remainder of his career more. After five seasons in New England, Sameul played for the Philadelphia Eagles for four seasons, recording another 23 interceptions, before finishing his career with two seasons in Atlanta as a member of the Falcons.
It’s worth noting that the subject has evidently come up recently for Samuel. He hosts a podcast called The Art of the Interception. In a video Tweet from former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s I Am Athlete podcast, he talks about how he and Samuel got into it over Belichick during the taping of an episode of Samuel’s podcast, which at the time had not yet been released, and appears still not to have come out.
This may simply be serendipitous timing on Samuel’s part given the recent speculation about Jackson and the Patriots thanks to the owner himself. But the opportunity also provides a convenient segue to promote his upcoming episode by throwing his name into the conversation.
This isn’t new for Samuel, however. Even a cursory view of his Twitter timeline shows you that he has taken shots at Belichick recently, pointing out during the 2022 season the Patriots’ struggles under the future Hall of Fame head coach without the benefit of Tom Brady at quarterback. He went so far as to call him an “average” coach.
But you don’t warn a player against playing for a coach simply because he might be average. It’s obviously deeper than that for Samuel. And this has been a discussion going on for decades about Belichick. I’m sure he’s not a coach every player will appreciate playing for.
One more notable Tweet I’d like to share, perhaps. A few years back, he had this to say: “Fun Fact: I made Belichick understand the cornerback position better and how to make plays in any coverage. He never agreed with the way I played but now he teaches it”.
And if you look at some of the decisions Belichick has made at the cornerback position since then, perhaps there is some truth to that. He also implies that Belichick stole a domino to make him stop gambling on dominos. Which is just…delightful.