Bill Belichick has earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s strictest, most demanding coaches. That reputation won’t go away as long as former players like Rich Ohrnberger keep talking about their experiences on the team.
Ohrnberger said on his radio show this week that he was running late to a team meeting one morning and was concerned about getting cut. Like a lot of people, he looked for an excuse for his tardiness. That excuse wound up being crashing his vehicle into a dented church van on his drive to the Patriots’ facility.
“‘I’m gonna hit this car,'” Ohrnberger said of his strategy.
What would you do if you were late for a team meating??? @richohrnberger @New England Patriots
Why was that the best course of action? Ohrnberger began the segment by discussing how no one wanted to walk into a team meeting late because of how stern Belichick was about punctuality. One morning, Ohrnberger woke up to find his phone had died and the birds were chirping, which meant he had overslept.
He said he didn’t even bother looking at the clock and instead quickly put himself together and ran out to his Chevy Tahoe to head to practice. He said he couldn’t speed because a ticket would be worse, so he had to hustle while avoiding getting pulled over. Ohrnberger finally looked at the clock and noticed he was five minutes from being officially late to the meeting and still 15 minutes from the facility.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what do I do?’ And I have this sinking feeling in my stomach like, ‘I’m going to be cut. Like, he’s not going to have me on this football team come tomorrow. What do I do?'” Ohrnberger said.
As Ohrnberger came to a stop light, he said, he saw a church van that had black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe and was clearly battered. That’s when he decided he was going to rear-end the vehicle.
“I’m going to hit this car because it’s better to whatever pay the insurance or, like, peel off this guy a couple hundred bucks than embarrass myself being late for this Patriots team meeting,” the former offensive lineman said.
The incident, Ohrnberger said, left only a dent on the bumper of his Tahoe. He said the driver, a man who appeared to be almost 100, came out of the van and apologized for the incident. Ohrnberger tried to explain to the man that it was not his fault, but rather Ohrnberger’s. The man said there was no damage to the van and wished Ohrnberger well.
When Ohrnberger got to the meeting, he talked to an assistant coach, who was upset about him being late but said that “it is what it is” and told him to wait in the offensive line room, alone, until the meeting was over. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia came in and told him that while accidents might work at IBM, they wouldn’t be acceptable with the Patriots. Ohrnberger found out later that someone went out to his vehicle to check for damage.
Ohrnberger spent three seasons with the Patriots (2009-11), appearing in five games total. He was placed on injured reserve in 2011 and was released in 2012. He played in 13 games for the Cardinals in 2012, 13 games for the Chargers in 2013 and eight games for the Chargers in 2014.
Needless to say, after that incident he was likely very careful about making sure his phone was charged.