WATCH: Bill Belichick Cracks a Smile at the Sight of ESPN’s Chris Berman

by Nick Geddes

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was in a jovial mood ahead of his Monday press conference with the media.

Now typically this wouldn’t be the case — but there was a special someone in attendance — someone who goes way back with Belichick. Chris Berman, ESPN‘s longest-tenured employee (1979), was present. Belichick appeared ready to give his opening remarks before Berman walked in.

Belichick smiled and said “Boomer,” before clapping as Berman found his seat.

“We are graced,” Belichick said. “We are graced, you’re looking good.”

In one brief moment, Berman was able to accomplish what not many have been able to. He made the six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach smile — essentially the equivalent of The Undertaker breaking character during 1990s WWF.

Berman chimed back in towards the end of the presser, asking which position group Belichick had the most confidence in as the 2022 season nears. Belichick said it was the safeties — a group spearheaded by veteran All-Pro Devin McCourty.

“We’ve shown and used packages last year with all three safeties on the field,” Belichick said. “Jabrill [Peppers] wasn’t here obviously, and [Joshuah] Bledsoe has had a good camp as well. So I think that’s a pretty competitive position not just for roster spots but also for playing time and how that gets distributed, so that’s probably No. 1.”

Lots of Change Surrounding Bill Belichick, Patriots This Season

Belichick, 70, is entering his 23rd season in New England — third straight without Tom Brady under center. 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones is back for his sophomore campaign, however, without offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels became the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach this offseason. Belichick opted not to name a replacement, though it’s understood that Joe Judge and Matt Patricia are both helping with running the offense.

The results were a mixed bag during the preseason. In the final tuneup against Las Vegas Friday, Jones went 9-of-13 for 71 yards and an interception in four drives of work. New England’s offense went three-and-out in two of the drives led by Jones.

Belichick doesn’t seem concerned with the offense or Jones, saying Monday morning that Jones has a great attitude every single day.

“Mac’s had a great attitude every day,” Belichick said on “The Greg Hill Show. ” “Comes in early. He’s ready to work. … He’s one of our most consistent workers and prepares very well. I haven’t seen anything other than that.”