Bill Belichick has become known as one of the most ruthless head coaches since he was hired by the New England Patriots before the 2000 NFL season. The coach has proven time and time again that he has no problem cutting a player from his roster, no matter what day it is.
This was exactly the case in 2015 when Belichick had to play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Day.
In preparation for the team’s upcoming game against the New York Jets, the coach felt a roster move needed to be made to give New England a better chance at getting a win. So Belichick grabbed his phone and dialed up the number for then Patriots tight end Asante Cleveland.
The coach was not calling his tight end to wish him a Merry Christmas, but instead he quickly informed Cleveland that he was being cut from the team.
“He was like, ‘Hey Asante. It’s Belichick. We’re going to have to make some roster moves.’ At that point, I knew what ‘roster moves’ means. It means I’m being moved from the roster. We needed to bring in a cornerback because we were playing the Jets.
He said, ‘I just want to let you know this is no indication we’re moving away from you. We really like you…We just need to make this quick transaction.’ That call ended. I said, ‘Merry Christmas.’ I don’t know if he heard me. He didn’t say it back.”
Obviously, it is not the call anyone wants to get when he or she is supposed to be enjoying some quality time with their family and friends. But this is the nature of the business in the NFL and that may not ring true for a franchise more than the New England Patriots with Belichick as their coach.
Luckily for Cleveland, he was picked up a few days later by the San Diego Chargers.
However, the tight end has made a new rule for Christmas in order to avoid anymore bad news on a day that is supposed to be filled with joy.
“Phone off on Christmas. It’s going to be the new rule I go with for the rest of my life. Only bad news can come. Good news will still be there the next day.”
Poor Asante. Christmas will never be the same. While everyone else is trying to catch a glimpse of Santa, he’ll be hiding from the Grinch.