Belichick paid player to start fights?

Former NFL defensive lineman Chad Eaton added to the growing mystique of Bill Belichick’s coaching prowess, saying the coach would pay him on the side for starting fights during practice.

Eaton, who played 10 seasons in the NFL with four different teams, was on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in 1995 when then-head coach Belichick forged the private arrangement with the six-foot-five, 300-pound defensive tackle.

"If practice was going slow, he’d look at me and just say, ‘It’s time,’" Eaton told the Dayton Daily News. "He wanted me to get on somebody’s [case] and start a little fight.

"I was known for that and it paid off on Fridays. There’d always be some extra money in my locker. Practice players don’t make much, so I really appreciated it."

Eaton, 39, revealed the interesting pact during an interview for a profile piece about his coaching stint at Division II Central State University in Ohio.

It is not the first time Belichick’s interesting tactics have come to light. Using a little practice-field thuggery pales in comparison to getting busted for illegally video taping opponents’ practices, which the Patriots were nailed for in 2007.

The video mishap, dubbed "Spygate," led to a $500,000 for Belichick, a $250,000 fine for the Patriots and the loss of the team’s first-round draft pick in 2008. Belichick claimed full responsibility for the highly-publicized incident.

The 59-year-old coach, who produced a meager 36-44 record in five seasons at Cleveland, has gone on to become one of the hardest to beat coaches in the NFL. Since taking over the Patriots in 2000, Belichick has amassed a remarkable .716 win percentage and three Super Bowl titles.

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