Playing for Bill Belichick can be an intimidating thought for some NFL players. Former New England Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger once went to extreme lengths to make sure he did not end up on Belichick’s bad side.
On The Hartman and Rich O Show on XTRA 1360, Ohrnberger said he woke up late for a team meeting one day. Instantly, Ohrnberger knew he was in trouble.
“You don’t want to be the guy that’s wandering into a squad team meeting and have Bill Belichick and the rest of the team look at you,” Ohrnberger said.
After frantically gathering up everything he needed for the day, Ohrnberger shot out of the door and into his car, but he still knew he was going to be late for the meeting. It was at that moment Ohrnberger grew concerned about his spot on the roster, and that led to him intentionally rear ending a church van in order to create an excuse for himself.
“I have this sinking feeling in my stomach like I’m gonna get cut,” Ohrnberger said. “He’s not going to have me on this football team come tomorrow. What do I do? I’m cruising down this slight sloping hill that brings you to this right that I have to take to get to the stadium for the morning meeting.
“I see a church van in front of me that’s all dinged up. It’s got the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. I’m like, ‘I’m gonna hit this car.’ I’m gonna rear end this car. I’m gonna hit this car because it’s better to pay the insurance or peel off this guy a couple hundred bucks than embarrass myself for being late to this Patriots team meeting. I rear end this poor old man, who by the way, was like minutes from being 100 years old.”
Ohrnberger said he instantly felt bad when the man got out of the van and tried to apologize to him. Eventually, Ohrnberger got to the facility and spoke with Bill Belichick’s assistant, who wasn’t terribly pleased with him. Ohrnberger was then directed to the offensive line room, and his position coach wasn’t fooled by his charade.
“First one in there was Dante Scarnecchia, my offensive line coach,” Ohrnberger said. “He goes, ‘How’s it going, speed racer?’ I was like, ‘What’s that?’ He says, ‘Running a little late this morning?’ I was like, ‘Dante, I got into an accident.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. That stuff may fly at IBM if you’re one of those geeks working on the computers and stuff. That stuff doesn’t work here. You be on time from now on.'”
Ohrnberger went on to play three seasons with the Patriots and spent three more years in the NFL between the Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers.