New England Patriots

Patriots deny report that Kraft told Falcons owner not to trust Belichick

Belichick reportedly did not land among the top three candidates for the Falcons' head coaching vacancy.

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When the Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots parted ways in January, the legendary head coach figured to be an intriguing candidate throughout the league. According to a new report, however, he never came close to landing another head coaching gig in the latest cycle.

Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN published a lengthy report of Belichick's job hunt on Wednesday. They reported that Belichick felt he was in line to become the Atlanta Falcons' new head coach, only for Atlanta to hire Raheem Morris.

Owner Arthur Blank and Falcons brass reportedly did not have Belichick in their top three when it came to potential candidates to replace former head coach Arthur Smith, even after Belichick reportedly pledged to work alongside Falcons executives after serving as a head coach/general manager hybrid in New England.

According to ESPN, Blank received direct input from Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the process.

"Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill," an unnamed ESPN source said after speaking to "a close Kraft friend and a longtime Belichick confidant."

A Kraft spokesman denied that the Patriots owner said anything disparaging about Belichick across two phone conversations with Blank.

"Robert steadfastly denies saying anything negative to Arthur Blank about Bill Belichick after Robert and Bill mutually agreed to part ways," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said. "In fact, Robert advocated for Bill to get the job.

"It would not surprise me to learn that owners sometimes lament to those close to them when their teams are struggling," James continued, "but Robert Kraft never questioned Bill's character or trust when talking with Arthur Blank. Trust is important to Robert. He wouldn't have employed Coach Belichick for the past 24 years if he ever questioned his trust."

Belichick's run at the Falcons job was reportedly the closest he came to landing a position this offseason.

"He was essentially voted off the island," a source close to the Falcons' hiring process told ESPN.

While Belichick reportedly is expected to sign a deal with Peyton Manning's Omaha Productions in the near future, he is still keeping his eyes on the coaching landscape. ESPN reported that he has told his confidants he would be interested in coaching the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. According to an ESPN source who spoke with one of Belichick's longtime friend, there's only choice with actual potential: Dallas.

"I don't think Bill Belichick will ever be a head coach again in the National Football League," the friend said. "Unless it's [for] (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones."

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