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Brian Sullivan Brian Sullivan
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The Sports Edge - The Patriot Way

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In Bill Belichick we trust. This has been our saying for a long time, and now with the addition of Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco in the same day, our trust in the "hooded wonder" is going to be tested.

It's worked before, but the question is whether the big man has bitten off more than he can chew. And on Shark Week no less!

First, however, let's go back in time. It's been more than a decade now that Pats fans have had their faith in Bill. It started in 2001 when he stuck with Tom Brady over a healthy Drew Bledsoe who was ready to return. The result: a Super Bowl victory.

After that win against the St. Louis Rams, Belichick cut Lawyer Milloy the following preseason in a move that came as a major surprise - Milloy was a Pro Bowler, but the Pats had gone out and signed Rodney Harrison, thus making Lawyer expendable

So, Milloy was out and in Belichick we trusted.

Fast forward three years and New England earns two more Super Bowl wins thanks to Harrison as well as Corey Dillon, another guy whose character issues were a factor before he came to Foxboro.

However, that's when the Super Bowl victories stopped - since 2005, the Pats are now in the midst of the longest championship drought of all of Boston's pro teams.

The franchise brought in Randy Moss in 2007, and it seemed like a match made in heaven. Brady threw for 50 TDs, and Moss caught 23 of them. The Pats went 18-0 but then had that one Giant loss - even typing these words gives me a vomit-like taste in my mouth.

Moss had a couple of good seasons, then things turned bad... really bad. He stopped drinking the Patriot Kool-Aid, and started drinking crazy and lazy by the gallon. The result: He was shipped out of town. The same thing happened to Richard Seymour - he spoke out against the Belichick way, and he was promptly traded.

Hey Richard, how is Oakland? I hear Al Davis is really nice.

Under Belichick, the Patriots are willing to take a risk on a guy who has had issues in other places. They have faith in themselves, the system, and the philosophy that exists in New England.

How will this translate for Chad and Albert? I think Ochocinco will be fine; he will take to the system and feed off playing for a winner - playing in Cincinnati can't have been easy. Ochocinco will tweet, he will have some good quotes going into games, and he will catch passes, hopefully allowing Wes Welker to return to the guy we saw two years ago.

The question I have is about Haynesworth. I want him to do well. I remember how dominant he was while with the Tennessee Titans a few years back. I also remember him stomping on another player's head during a game. I remember him signing a huge contract in Washington and not earning a dollar of it. I remember him failing conditioning tests and fighting with teammates. I also remember that he has a sexual assault case pending against him.

Albert Haynesworth has shown that he is a bad dude. However, this will be the true test for Belichick and his system - can he get Albert to play nice? Or, at least be nice to his fellow Pats? Let's be honest; having a mean guy similar to a Rodney Harrison on your team is just fine. Go ahead, get an extra hit in. Play up to the whistle. Football is a contact sport, so embrace that fact. But, maybe a little less stomping time and a little more time jogging to get yourself into playing shape is what's needed.

I want the Patriots to do well, and I don't think the ownership would have made this move if they didn't think it could work. I just hope they are right.

Brian Sullivan is the sports director for WVII ABC-7/Fox 22 in Bangor. He may be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last modified on Monday, 12 December 2011 11:32


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