At least one of Bill Belichick's former players doesn't think his reputation as an iconic head coach is quite deserved.
In response to a tweet from ESPN's Louis Riddick about Cam Newton being released, Asante Samuel called Belichick "just another coach" without Tom Brady as his quarterback:
Last season marked the first time that Brady and Belichick weren't together in New England. They both joined the organization in 2000 when Belichick was hired as head coach and Brady was a sixth-round draft pick.
After spending his rookie year as a backup, Brady took over in Week 2 of the 2001 season when Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury against the New York Jets. The change turned out to be the most significant roster move in NFL history.
The Patriots went on to win six Super Bowls and nine AFC championships from 2001-19. Brady won Super Bowl MVP five times and NFL MVP three times during that span. Belichick was named Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year in 2003, 2007 and 2010.
Brady's departure left Belichick and the Patriots with an impossible hole to fill. Newton struggled in his only season with the team, throwing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 starts.
Considering how many injuries, opt-outs and roster changes the Patriots had last season, their 7-9 record is a pretty strong point in favor of Belichick's coaching. It does hurt, though, that Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory.
Samuel was on the Patriots during the early days of the franchise's dynasty. He was a fourth-round draft pick by the organization out of Central Florida in 2003.
New England won back-to-back Super Bowl titles in Samuel's first two seasons in the NFL. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent after the 2007 season.