Tackling a playbook conspiracy

Posted: June 20, 2014

IS BILL BELICHICK cheating again?

Probably not, but that didn't stop a slew of reports suggesting the Patriots coach, who was fined $500,000 by the NFL in 2007 for his role in Spygate, was in possession of a New York Jets playbook.

The news was originally reported in a story that Greg Bedard, of MMQB.SI.com, wrote about Browns coach Mike Pettine.

Pettine was discussing why he purposely has a thin playbook, saying, "I don't put a lot of graduate-level information in it. We know in places like New England, it's only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook."

To make his point, Pettine told a story about the time Patriots QB Tom Brady attended the wedding of then-teammate Wes Welker a couple of years ago.

Pettine said Brady told then-Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith (who roomed with Welker at Texas Tech) that the Patriots might have acquired a Jets playbook.

Pettine, who had coaching stints at North Penn and William Tennent, said the story didn't surprise him.

"It didn't shock me because Rex [Ryan, the Jets coach] would give them out like candy anyway," Pettine said. "He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, 'Don't you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it's going to end up in New England.' "

Yesterday, an Alabama spokesperson told AL.com that Saban did receive a playbook from Ryan. But, the spokesman said, it's still on Saban's desk.

Belichick curtly dismissed the matter yesterday.

"You've got to talk to Mike Pettine," he told the Boston Globe. "I don't know."

Ryan indicated that Pettine's comments may have strained their friendship.

"I don't understand what he's trying to gain by it," Ryan said. "Everyone needs to talk to Mike Pettine 'cause he's got all the answers. [He] needs to learn to be quiet."

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