Belichick declines comment on interest in Ed Reed

Bill Belichick isn’t saying whether he would be interested in

bringing released Houston Texans safety Ed Reed to New England.

”I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to comment on

players who aren’t on our team,” the Patriots coach said on a

conference call with reporters Wednesday, a day after Reed was put

on waivers by the Texans.

But Belichick didn’t hesitate to fawn over Reed when he was a

nine-time Pro Bowl selection with the Baltimore Ravens, calling him

in 2007 an ”awesome” player and ”one of the best football

players in the league.” New England quarterback Tom Brady once

said the coach wanted to adopt Reed and rename him ”Ed

Belichick.”

Reed spent the first 11 years of his career in Baltimore before

signing a three-year, $15 million free agent contract with Houston

last offseason. He missed the first two games after hip surgery and

then was relegated to a backup role with the Texans, causing him to

lash out at interim coach Wade Phillips, who is filling in for Gary

Kubiak while he recovers from a mini-stroke.

Reed, who was the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and

led the league in interceptions three times, had just 16 tackles

with Houston.

Asked about evaluating a player who becomes available midseason,

Belichick said teams usually have an inkling that it might

happen.

”Most of the time you have a little bit of a lead-in on that if

you’re paying attention to things that are going on,” he said.

”There’s a lot of players that could be available out there, but

if it’s a situation where you have a need at a certain position or

it’s a fit, then you’re more interested and more apt to do

something. … But it’s more sometimes about timing than it is

about the player.”

Reed’s 61 career interceptions were most among active players.

He has 524 tackles and 11 forced fumbles in 167 games. The Patriots

have five players on the depth chart at two safety positions,

including starters Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory.

”I think overall that we’ve had pretty solid play out of the

five guys,” Belichick said. ”I think that those guys have all

worked hard, when they’ve been on the field they’ve all been solid

contributors, and we’ve certainly had a lot less problems this year

than we had last year, even the last couple of years, with balls

getting thrown over our head in the middle of the field and things

like that.”

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org