Bill Belichick ties George Halas on the NFL’s all-time wins list and extends credit to his players

BOSTON — Bill Belichick isn’t one for career milestones, especially when that career is his own. Wins are all that matters to the Patriots head coach.

Those two worlds collided Sunday, however, as New England’s 38-15 victory over the Browns in Cleveland moved Belichick into second place on the NFL’s all-time wins list. With 324 combined regular season and postseason wins, Belichick is now tied with the great George Halas.

As always, Belichick pushed every accolade onto his players and coaching staffs over the years.

“You can’t win games in this league without great players, and I’ve been fortunate to coach great players and have great coaches on my staff over the years,” Belichick said. “Players, many are Patriots Hall of Famers or Football Hall of Famers — or will be. I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of them. Had them in New York, Cleveland, and have them here.

“George Halas and Paul Brown, I probably shouldn’t be included with them, I think,” Belichick said of his place in NFL history. “I have a lot of respect for coach Halas and what he did for pro football. How he and Paul Brown and others like them paved the way for us as coaches and for the NFL to grow into what it is today. many of the building blocks.”

Past and present Patriots players congratulated Belichick after the game. Current Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon said his head coach didn’t mention the milestone after the game.

“It’s just a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, a lot of execution, a lot of attention to detail,” Judon said of Belichick’s career. For him to tie that record? It is well. It’s really, really nice.”

Cornerback Jalen Mills said after Sunday’s win that he came to New England because of Belichick and wanted to learn under the best ever to do it. Jonnu Smith echoed a similar sentiment.

“It was a no brainer for me, not because it’s a historic franchise, but coach Belichick is such a football mind. A football nut. I knew I wanted to learn the game from a different set of eyes. Taking it in as a football player , a competitor, a student of the game, that meant a lot to me,” Smith said.

“He’s a heck of a coach and a great person. He always gives us presentations on the history of the game and I appreciate that,” Smith added. “When he gets to talk about when this happened, when he goes on and on about how these are the first guys who invented this formation, it blew me away how much he knows. Being around him and watching the game from his perspective — that’s a good man right there.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater said they didn’t celebrate Sunday because Belichick only set the record, and they hope to celebrate that he soon holds second place.

“Unbelievable what he’s done and it’s only fitting that we’re here in Cleveland, a place that ran him out,” Slater added. “All these years later, he’s proving he’s the best to ever do it.”

Sunday was Belichick’s 256th regular-season win with the Patriots, with 30 more in the postseason. He will have a chance to claim sole possession of second place next Monday night when his 3-3 Patriots host the 2-4 Chicago Bears.

Once he claims his second spot, only Don Shula will sit above Belichick with 347 combined wins.

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