Bill Belichick is known for running a tight ship in New England. One thing the longtime coach does not tolerate is players being late to practice, and a former Patriots lineman told a shocking story this week that helps illustrate just how intimidating Belichick can be.
Rich Ohrnberger, an ex-Patriots offensive lineman, said on his “The Hartman & Rich O Show” this week on XTRA 1360 that he once intentionally got into a car accident so he had an excuse for being late to practice. The 2009 fourth-round pick said his phone died overnight and he overslept. When he was already five minutes late with a 15-minute drive ahead of him, Ohrnberger decided to take drastic measures.
“I’m gonna be 10 minutes late for this day. I have this sinking feeling in my stomach like, ‘I’m gonna be cut. (Belichick’s) not gonna have me on this football team come tomorrow. What do I do?’” Ohrnberger recalled, as transcribed by Jared Greenspan of the New York Post. “I see a church van in front of me that’s all dinged up and it’s got the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna hit this car.’ It’s better to pay the insurance than embarrass myself by being late for a Patriots team meeting.”
Ohrnberger says he drove his Chevy Tahoe into the back of the van just hard enough to dent his bumper so he had proof of the accident. He said his heart was “pounding with regret and guilt” when an elderly man stepped out of the van, but fortunately no one was hurt.
The Patriots bought the story, according to Ohrnberger. He kept his job despite his offensive line coach saying, “That stuff doesn’t work here.”
Belichick has a history of benching players seemingly without explanation, so you can understand why Ohrnberger panicked. Does that mean rear-ending a car on purpose was a good decision? That one is debatable.