It's not often that Bill Belichick shows any sort of emotion towards the game of football in interviews or press conferences, but he did on Tuesday.
Former New England Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest is set to be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, and Belichick had some very high praise to give his former player. It's not hard to compliment a player of McGinest's caliber, but coming from Belichick makes it that much better.
"He took losing hard, which I think that's a good thing, more than personal accomplishments," Belichick said, via MassLive. "[He was a] great example for younger players. He had kind of that nice balance of being able to talk to a guy, but also you just watch him do it and that was a good example. It wasn't really all one or the other. He had a good rapport with his teammates. Nobody would mess with Willie. Nobody. He was the most, I'd say in the time that I've been here, there is maybe one player, I'd put him up there as the guy you just don't want to cross him. If it got to that point, it's better to back off than get into it with him."
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McGinest wasn't a dirty player by any means, but he was a hard-working one. And clearly, you didn't want to mess with him.
He left it all out on the field and would never take plays off. He was a cog in the Patriots' Super Bowl winning defense, piling up 86 sacks over the course of his career. Belichick thought so highly of McGinest that he went as far as to compare him to the great Lawrence Taylor.
"Willie was ... I'd say [Lawrence] Taylor was a little bit like that at New York," Belichick continued. "I kind of learned from coaching Lawrence that Lawrence is really smart and he played hard, he was really tough, but he had a little bit of extra gas in his tank for the critical plays in the game."
With the experience that Belichick has compiled in his career, and the caliber of players he's coached, receiving kind and endearing words from him is special.