Robert Kraft calls Bill Belichick the 'biggest f***ing a**hole in my life' in new Patriots tell-all book

·3 min read

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn't hold back in describing his longtime coach Bill Belichick, calling him the "biggest f***ing a**hole in my life." 

The moment is detailed in a new book, "It's Better to Be Feared," by ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham that describes the Patriots' dynasty from 2001-19. The book will be released Oct. 12 and was previewed by ESPN ahead of quarterback Tom Brady's return to New England as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Excerpts from the book show discord between Kraft, Belichick and Brady over nearly two decades and explain Brady's exit in March 2020. It also describes Bill O'Brien reportedly trying to get fired by the Houston Texans to succeed Belichick in New England and provides details on the cozy relationship between Belichick and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick
New England Patriots team owner Robert Kraft didn't have kind words for his coach, per a new book on the franchise's 2000s dynasty. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Kraft's comments on being around Belichick 

Kraft's blunt comments on Belichick came in late September of 2018 when he was in Aspen, Colorado, for a conference. He ran into friends in the hotel lobby one morning and bemoaned having to leave. Via ESPN:

"He told them he was leaving later for Detroit, where the Patriots were playing their next game. 'I hate leaving here,' Kraft said. 'You leave here and you leave some of the most brilliant people you've ever met. You pick up so much knowledge from all these brilliant minds. And I have to go to Detroit to be with the biggest f***ing a**hole in my life — my head coach.'"

Kraft also reportedly called Belichick an "idiot savant" before joining the Patriots and said he "gave him this opportunity." The team owner reportedly complained that Belichick didn't show him deserved respect but at the same time "he was in no rush for life after him." 

Kraft, Brady reportedly thought of bringing in O'Brien

In 2017, Brady and Kraft reportedly met and discussed who could replace Belichick. Brady had already reportedly stated to those closest to him he no longer wanted to play for Belichick. The name Bill O'Brien, who was the Patriots' former offensive coordinator, came up. 

"[Brady] thought O'Brien would be more amendable in letting him in on some personnel decisions and treating him as a little more than just a quarterback," Wickersham said on the "ESPN Daily" podcast on Wednesday.

O'Brien was the head coach of the Houston Texans at the time and in a fight with team management. Per the book, O'Brien attempted to get fired so he could be hired in New England to replace offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was expected to leave for a head coaching position, and eventually become the head coach in New England. 

Instead, O'Brien received more control in Houston, and McDaniels stayed. O'Brien joked to a confidant it was an empty victory since he "was trying to get fired," per ESPN. 

Brady, Belichick relationship deteriorated over years 

Wickersham described on "ESPN Daily" how Kraft tried to keep the group together amid growing discontent between his head coach and superstar quarterback. Brady was reportedly tired of "taking team-friendly deals with no input into how the money saved was spent — and still wanted a long-term contractual commitment." 

Ahead of Brady's announcement in March 2020 that he would not return to New England in free agency, he broke the news to Kraft. The two had a socially distanced visit and both men cried, Wickersham said on the podcast. 

Brady wanted to do the same with Belichick, but the coach told Brady he wasn't available. Brady later told friends he "thought that that was telling," per ESPN. They ended up speaking by phone, and Belichick told him he was the best player he'd ever coached and best player the league had ever seen. 

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