Robert Kraft 'Absolutely' Thinks Bill Belichick Will Return as Patriots HC

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2018

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick look on before their NFL football game against the New York Giants Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Despite reports of turmoil within the New England Patriots, owner Robert Kraft expressed his belief Saturday that Bill Belichick will be back as the team's head coach next season.

According to Peter King of The MMQB, Kraft said he "absolutely" thinks Belichick will remain at the helm for 2018.

On Friday, ESPN's Seth Wickersham published an article detailing reported issues between Kraft, Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

The Patriots released the following joint statement Friday regarding Wickersham's article:

In his story, Wickersham wrote about a disconnect between Belichick and Brady due to Belichick banning Brady's trainer, Alex Guerrero, from the sidelines, team flights and team facility.

Also, Wickersham discussed Brady taking issue with what he perceived to be overly negative treatment from Belichick.

Additionally, Wickersham reported that Belichick and Kraft had differing opinions regarding what to do with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Belichick wanted to keep him, but due to reported pressure from Kraft—and the idea that Brady wanted assurances he would be New England's quarterback for the foreseeable future—he dealt Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round draft pick.

Kraft told King that Wickersham's report of mandating Belichick to deal Garoppolo was untrue, and that Belichick called him and asked if the trade was OK to move forward with.

Also, Kraft shot down the idea of trading Belichick to another team, and praised the five-time Super Bowl-winning head coach: "When you're lucky enough to have someone exceptional, you let them do their job and you get out of the way."

The Patriots have enjoyed unprecedented success under Kraft, Belichick and Brady, and there are few signs that their stay atop the NFL is coming to an end.

After winning the Super Bowl last season in epic, come-from-behind fashion, they are favored to do so again this season as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

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