I went on record a couple of months ago to say that, from what I have witnessed of Bill Belichick this season, I believe he is going to retire at its end.
And some of the latest occurences make me believe it even more.
He looks worn out and washed out along the sidelines. True, he has never been a very charismatic personality, neither on the field nor off of it, but this year he seems to have become a zombie. Sort of like "The Day Of The Walking Dead".
And we have all witnessed some very un-Belichick decisions on the field. The attempt for a first down on their own 28 yard line for one, and then doing it again on fourth down on the Miami five yard line instead of taking a gimmee three points.
This latest little escapade of sending four players home after showing up a few minutes late for a team meeting is yet one more example of a very different Bill Belichick.
The weather that morning was very bad in the Foxboro area; it was snowing, and driving conditions were very dangerous.
Adalius Thomas was one of the four, along with Randy Moss, Gary Guyton and Derrick Burgess. Thomas said he was "dumbfounded" when informed by Belichick that he was being sent home.
Thomas said he was tied up in traffic in the bad weather, and as they are instructed to call in, he did.
When he arrived about nine minutes late for the meeting, Belichik told him and the other three to leave.
Thomas said that he called in and because of the bad weather, was tied up; in fact, he almost got into an accident that could have left him in a ditch.
Belichick, allegedly, responded by saying that was not an excuse and told him to go home.
This comes at a very critical time for the Patriots, who are trying to hold on to their slim one-game lead in the division. What they do not need at this time is a distraction.
This latest incident, along with all of the others that I have observed, tell me that Belichick is under some sort of emotional stress, possibly emanating from outside sources.
But whatever the reason, it is very obvious to me that he isn't the same coach who has had a decade of success and is a sure thing for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He has accomplished just about everything an NFL coach could ever dream of, including three Super Bowl Championships.
Regardless of how this season ends, with the Patriots in the playoffs or not, this will be his last year as the Pats' head coach.
He is definitely not the type that will end up on a pre- or post-game TV show as he just doesn't have that magnetic personalitity.
I do, however, see him staying in football somewhere. Perhaps in an inside position, but certainly not along the sideline.
I personally admire Belichick for what he has accomplished and how he has taken the team that I love, and have spent 50 years as a fan of, from the NFL doldrums to one of the most respected, and feared, franchises.
But, with everyone, there comes a day when it is time to say goodbye. For Bill Belichick, I believe that time has come.
And I believe he thinks so too.