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Now That the Patriots Have Re-Signed Lawrence Guy, Let's Revisit the Whole 'Nobody Wants to Play in NE' Thing

Stephen Brashear. Shutterstock Images.

Let's review just the events of the last week or so, shall we? And put aside for a moment the way the Patriots blew up the opening days of free agency with a 1,000 megaton blast that put a wobble in Earth's orbit. In their most recent moves, they've brought back three veterans who were assumed to be gone: David Andrews, James White and now Lawrence Guy. Now re-signing a 31-year-old interior defensive lineman who was a 7th round pick 10 years ago might not move the needle for you much. But a defense that gave up the 7th most rushing yards and the fifth most rushing 1st downs can use all the experienced, 315 pound, two-gap run stuffers it can get. Guy led the Patriots D-tackle rotation in snaps last year. He was sixth on the team in tackles. And in the passing game he added seven QB hits, good for third most. 

Just as significantly, those three re-signs bring something else back with them. They all wore captains "C"s last year. Figuratively speaking. That "C" with the stars under it on the jersey is for loser franchises like Tampa Bay. And around Foxboro have all the worth of one of those "I Got Vaccinated" stickers we give adults in this country now. The benefit of returning all eight of your team captains as the Patriots have done might be hard to quantify, but it doesn't mean nothing. 

Which leads me to the point of this blog. It's one I've made before in different ways, but it bears repeating under the circumstances. Remember not that long ago when everyone was insisting playing under Bill Belichick is sheer misery? And that the only reason anyone with a choice elected to come to New England was to play with Tom Brady? And now that the big draw was gone, everyone would be taking minimum wage to go play in Tampa and Belichick would be forced to cobble together a team of conscripts, misfits, losers and outcasts at the end of the line with nowhere else to turn like Suicide Squad? 

Yeah, about that:

Congratulations to Rex Ryan for the overreaction of the century on this one. But he was just one of the vocal majority spouting this same molten lava take out of his mouth volcano. Why? Because Matthew Stafford put New England on his "No Trade" list. Matthew fricken Stafford. Owner of exactly zero career playoff wins. Whose been in as many postseason games (three) as Kyle Van Noy, who has also come back to the fold, has been to Super Bowls in his 3 1/2 seasons as a Patriot. 

Stafford exercised his right as an American to not work for a particular organization because he didn't like Matt Patricia's coaching style. Fine. But for some reason the world took that as an excuse to stomp on their Jump to Conclusions Mat and decide the whole league felt the same way. And I for one intend to save those receipts. 

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Credit where it's due to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune for compiling this list of reactions by some of the non-Patriots free agents who could've signed anywhere on why they chose to play for Belichick:

Hunter Henry, tight end: “(Belichick) actually became pretty good friends with my high school coach, who brought us together and I met him before coming out of the draft. I've always talked to my high school coach about (Belichick). I've always had tons of respect for coach and the Patriots and excited to play for him.”

Jonnu Smith, tight end: “I did (hear Belichick’s positive comments in 2019), and as a player, I take everything with a grain of salt … Coming from him, of course, you maybe can’t take that with a grain of salt. It was definitely a pleasure coming from him.”

Jalen Mills, safety: "I was talking to the nutritionist in the (Gillette Stadium) cafeteria … I'm about to walk out of the cafeteria and I just hear, 'Hey, Jalen.' So I turned, around, and it's Coach (Belichick), right. In my mind, I'm saying, 'OK, this is Coach.' But it really didn't click that it was Coach Belichick. So, he's just talking to me, telling me, 'Happy to have you. Glad for you to be here. I'm excited for you to be here.’ I literally turned my back to him, and I screamed out loud, 'This is Coach Belichick.' … I don't want to disrespect you, but Coach, you're a legend to me. I'm happy to be here.'”

Matt Judon, defensive end: He was asked via text by reporter Josina Anderson on why he chose the Patriots. Judon wrote back to here: "They chose me."

Kendrick Bourne, wide receiver: “When I came in the building for the first time, I thought it was gonna be all stuck up, but it was a whole misconception. They were relaxed in there. They were laid back, having fun. They know that they want their organization to be serious, excellence. But behind closed doors, it is relaxed. It is fun. There’s laughing in there. I was tripping … Bill (Belichick) was super cool. (Owner) Robert Kraft was super nice. I just had a whole different view of the Patriots in my head. It was a happy medium.”

Nelson Agholor, wide receiver: “It felt real. It felt amazing and when you walked in you realized why this place is so special as soon as you walked in. I am excited to be here. You get to see the history on the walls. You get to see some of the special players that played here, and you see all the championships. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

The conventional wisdom around Boston is that no NBA player gives a rat's taint about the Celtics "mystique" anymore. That the banners and retired numbers and the ancient histories of Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and Larry Bird are meaningless when it comes to getting guys to sign here. And that is very likely true. But the difference between the Celts and Patriots is that their Red Auerbach is still in his prime. Alive and well, calling all the shots, running the practices and patrolling the sidelines. Serious players determined to win want to play for the guy they know gives them a coaching advantage every Sunday. That's both the ones who have played here before, the ones who never left, and the new recruits. 

So welcome back to Lawrence Guy, who's going to be a tremendous re-acquisition to a DT unit that already includes Deatrich Wise, Davon Godchaux, Carl Davis and Henry Anderson. He's yet another team leader who knows where he belongs. 

#KissTheRings