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Ex-New England Patriots player shares wild story about trying to not anger Bill Belichick

Matt Johnson

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will go down as the winningest coach in NFL history thanks to his football mind and his attitude. It’s that famous demeanor that led one former Patriots player to go to extreme lengths to avoid the wrath of his coach.

Rich Ohrnberger entered the league as a fourth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, needing to prove himself to Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff as a rookie. Already facing obstacles of making the roster for a three-time Super Bowl champion, the offensive lineman went to extreme lengths to avoid giving Belichick a reason to cut him.

During an interview on the Hartman & Rich O Show for XTRA 360 in San Diego, Ohrnberger shared a memorable experience when he wrecked his car in order to avoid angering Belichick by being late to practice.

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The former NFL offensive lineman shared how all of this began when his phone died during the night, causing his alarm to never go off for his early wake-up. After oversleeping, Ohrnberger frantically realized upon waking up that he would be late to the Patriots’ facility.

On the drive to practice, all he could think about was the belief that Belichick would immediately cut him for tardiness. As he got closer to the facility, Ohrnberger saw a beat-up church van with black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe.

“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 just like, ‘I’m gonna hit this car.'”

Former New England Patriots player Rich Ohrnberger on decision to hit the van

He made just enough contact with the van to cause a dent, creating evidence of a crash. After checking on the old man in the vehicle and then providing him with cash and insurance information, Ohrnberger made his way to the Patriots’ team facility.

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Once he arrived, the Penn State alum immediately spoke with one of Belichick’s assistants and waited in the offensive line room until the entire team finished its meeting. Ohrnberger said the first person he saw was offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who made it clear that tardiness wouldn’t be tolerated again.

He would last just three seasons in New England, later spending the 2012 season with the Arizona Cardinals before ending his career with the San Diego Chargers (2013-’14). While Ohrnberger might not have had the most successful NFL career, at least he got a great story out of it.

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