The man that quit using a written resignation letter on a napkin 24 hours after becoming the head coach of the New York Jets, has spent the last 17 years of his life tormenting that exact franchise. That man is Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick.
Aside from coaching his team to a 25-11 record vs the Jets, Belichick has taken players from the Jets, made the best of them, then at times, event sent them back after getting the most out of them while watching the Jets overpay.
There’s a straight line to be drawn from the Patriots’ signing today of David Harris, a respected veteran inside linebacker who was dumped two weeks ago as part of the Jets’ roster purge simply because he wouldn’t take a cut. That line takes you back. It runs you through tampering charges, Darrelle Revis’s Super Bowl ring, the suffocation of Rex Ryan’s antagonism, Danny Woodhead, sad Eric Mangini, Spygate, and Bill Parcells’s ham-fisted succession plan. It stretches on for some 17 years, and it begins with “I’ve decided to resign as HC of the NYJ…” (On a napkin) The force that keeps that line moving from one point to the next is Bill Belichick’s unslakable appetite for embarrassing the Jets.
Adding Harris makes lots of sense for the New England Patriots, even though he’s 33 and no longer an every-down linebacker. Harris will find a fit in Foxboro as a situational run-stopper who can pair with Dont’a Hightower. He’s also exactly the sort of low-key workhorse Belichick covets. Belichick has been in love with Harris for 10 years, and for all his legendary reticence with the media, he’s never held back when asked to explain his appreciation for what Harris does as a player:
Here's Belichick a few years ago on David Harris pic.twitter.com/hTHvbqj9Eq
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) June 21, 2017
But this goes deeper than football. Harris was beloved in New York, and his early-June release made the Jets look graceless, at a time when they’re dragging their fanbase through an excruciating dismantling of their team and ridding of any veteran leadership. The image of Harris in enemy red, white, and blue—with a chance to finally win a ring—is also Belichick’s way of calling attention back to the middle finger he never intends to stop flashing. And that’s why I absolutely adore this move.
Belichick just windmill dunking right in the Jets grill after stealing yet another player pic.twitter.com/kVg8m8WdlV
— OffTheMonsterSports (@OTMSportsBOS) June 21, 2017