Bill Belichick has been a staple for New England football fans for more than 20 years.
After news of his departure from his longtime coaching role on Thursday, a group of fans recalled their experience meeting the Patriots and NFL icon.
“I thought he was super upbeat,” Steven Norbury told 7NEWS. “I thought he had a great sense of humor. He was very present.”
Norbury and his South Shore family met Belichick on the practice field in 2017 after bidding on a charity auction item at an event run by the Bill Belichick Foundation.
Family members attended several foundation events over the years and said the experience of meeting Belichick was “a pinch me moment.”
A major Patriots football fan, Norbury said Belichick was a totally different guy than the one on TV who is portrayed as serious with his players and short with the media.
“He’s obviously a very, very busy man,” Norbury said. “But he took time to really engage with us and look us in the eye.”
“The biggest piece,” Norbury continued, “was that he had a smile on his face the entire time that we spoke to him.”
Jon D’Allessandro said he is not that interested in football.
He is a history buff, though. So, he paid for his family to meet Belichick after having a positive experience working with him on a World War II documentary.
“Bill did a great job,” D’Allessandro said. “And he brings a lot of fun to things that he does.”
Belichick narrated the film, called “D-Day: Over Normandy.”
The son of a World War II veteran, Belichick is supportive of those that served, D’Allessandro said.
“I was quite honored to have him help us with it, and he enjoyed it, I really think he did,” he said.
While all of New England feels they know Belichick, D’Allessandro, Norbury and their family said this week they will forever cherish the football and the shirt Belichick signed for them, as well as the time he spent with them more than five years ago.
“I just think he’s a fantastic guy and a guy you could call his friend,” D’Allessandro said. “He’s a fun guy.”
“[He is] not what you would expect and not what the general public sees,” Norbury said. “He’s a very, very genuine, kind and happy person.”
Though they are heartbroken Belichick is leaving the Patriots, D’Allessandro, Norbury and their family on Thursday said they wish him well and thank him for the memories.
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