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Bill Belichick shows a lighter side at owners’ meetings

Bill Belichick met with reporters at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday.

John Raoux/AP

Bill Belichick met with reporters at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave his usual short, understated answers Tuesday morning at the NFL owners meetings when asked about his players and the issues surrounding the Patriots.

“I think he’ll help our team,” he said of five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, widely regarded as one of the best – if not the best – cornerbacks in the NFL.

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“That’s something you have to talk to Vince about,” he responded when asked about Vince Wilfork’s contentious contract negotiation and request to be released.

“We’re just trying to improve our team,” he said when asked about John Elway’s comments of an “arms race” developing between Denver and New England.

But Belichick also showed good comedic timing and seamlessly mixed in a few classic one-liners at the AFC coaches’ breakfast, in which all 16 coaches from the conference dined with reporters and answered questions for about an hour.

Belichick was asked about being the only one among 32 head coaches to skip the group photo on Monday morning.

“I missed it. Maybe they can Photoshop me in there,” he quipped.

He was also asked about the cost of adding extra cameras to the sidelines to ensure full coverage for instant replay, one of the four rules changes he has proposed for these league meetings.

“Maybe we could have a bake sale, raise some money for the cameras. We could do a car wash,” he joked. “We just spent however many million dollars on the replay system. I mean, there’s a thousand cameras in every stadium, so if somebody spills a beer on somebody we have it on record, right?”

Belichick was asked about his proposal to change the extra point to make it a more competitive play, and he lamented recent rules changes that have made it tougher for teams to block field goals and extra points.

“I’d certainly be open to any other suggestions to make it a more competitive play – like if you were allowed to block it, that would make it more competitive,” he said. “The way we’ve legislated field goal rushes, it’s almost impossible to block a kick. You can’t overload, you can’t hit the center, you can’t jump, you can’t land on anybody.”

He even showed support to the Florida Gators basketball team, which won its first two games of the NCAA Tournament. Belichick attended the Gators’ game Saturday in Orlando.

“Shout out to Billy (Donovan) here. Going to the Sweet 16,” he said.

And he grew incredulous when asked if he has any timetable for the return of star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who tore his ACL and MCL in December and had surgery in early January.

“Did you seriously ask me that question?” he said.

Follow Ben Volin on Twitter at @BenVolin.
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