Bill Belichick sings praises of Mike Lombardi as 'one of the smartest people I know'

Mike Petraglia
November 02, 2016 - 6:08 am

[caption id="attachment_113328" align="alignright" width="400"]Mike Lombardi. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports) Mike Lombardi. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)[/caption] FOXBORO -- Of all the opinions expressed on the Jamie Collins trade, the one held by Mike Lombardi has generated the most intrigue as to why the Patriots shipped the linebacker off to Cleveland. On Monday, shortly after the trade to the Browns was made, Lombardi, a close confidant to Bill Belichick, took to social media to explain why he was not surprised by the trade. On Tuesday, Lombardi appeared on Kirk and Callahan to defend his support of the trade and explain his criticism of the way Collins was playing and why he no longer was a fit in the Patriots' system. On Wednesday, Belichick held his first press conference since the trade and directed most questions to the Dale and Holley transcript on WEEI, when he appeared Monday afternoon on the show. Belichick was asked specifically about Lombardi, who worked with Belichick in 2014 and '15 before leaving for Fox Sports this year. But Belichick's relationship with and respect for Lombardi goes well beyond those two seasons. He was on the Belichick staff in Cleveland for all five seasons (1991-95) and actually was there four years before Belichick arrived. Lombardi remains one Belichick's most trusted sources and advisors on all football personnel matters, as Belichick believes in his ability to quickly break down film and make informed opinions. What does Belichick think of Lombardi's opinions on Collins? "Look, Mike's one of the smartest people I know," Belichick said. "He's one of the smartest people I've worked with. He was a huge asset to me for the two years he was here. Mike's a smart guy and he studies football and he knows it very well. I would say probably on all teams." "So, you [go] talk to Mike," Belichick said. "You should ask Mike about whatever Mike said. I'm sure everybody had something to say. Go talk to them. I don't know. "I expressed my feelings. I think other coaches have expressed their feelings and I'm sure there are a lot of other people who've got an opinion. Want to talk to them, go talk to them. I don't care."