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Bill Belichick stresses ‘moving on to 2017’ in message to players

Bill Belichick once again is making it clear that nothing the New England Patriots accomplished last season has anything to do with any future success during the 2017 NFL season.

The Patriots head coach doubled down on what he had to say recently about the team needing to “move on to 2017” after an offseason filled with celebrations, parades, ring ceremonies and the like in the wake of a historic comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Patriots players will be off for six weeks after the team closed out its OTA sessions with practice Tuesday. Belichick was asked what message he had for his players before sending them off.

“I think it’s obvious we all have a lot of work to do — coaches, players, each individual, each unit,” Belichick said Tuesday. “We need to, I’d say, make the gains that we can make in that time frame and be ready to come together to put a good product on the field when we come back in July and through training camp and August.

“But we’ve got a long way to go. We all have a lot of work to do. There’s some things we can do over the next month, there’s some things we can’t, and then when we regroup, then that will obviously be a key time for us. The better prepared we are for that, probably the better and the more production we’ll have. If we’re not prepared for it, then we’ll miss another opportunity.”

Belichick’s no-nonsense approach and desire to leave the past in the rear view mirror are among the qualities that have helped him become arguably the greatest coach in NFL history. It’s hardly surprising the curmudgeonly coach wasn’t slapping players on the back and sending them off with an inspirational message. To Belichick, the work is never over, even with the prospect of six weeks off  … at least for his players.

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