Dont’a Hightower Said the Patriots Do, In Fact, Have Fun Sometimes

After Cassius Marsh's comments that Foxboro is an unhappy place, some athletes noted that Bill Belichick's tough coaching style has it's perks. Winning, for instance.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks with reporters before an NFL football team practice, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass.

Photo via AP/Steven Senne

The Patriot Way is not a cake walk.

Sure, football may be a “game,” and “games” are traditionally “fun” and “enjoyable,” but, Bill Belichick isn’t handing out gold stars to guys just for lacing up their cleats. And that’s just fine for some of the athletes on the team.

“It’s definitely harder than most places, but I mean, that’s part of it. A lot of guys know what when they come here,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower told the Boston Globe on Thursday. “We have fun, whether it’s out here struggling together—blood, sweat, and tears—or we’re back in the locker room or we’re hanging out outside of football.”   

Hightower’s comment isn’t exactly a full-throated endorsement of Belichick’s notoriously tough coaching style, and Foxboro is surely no Magic Kingdom. It’s intense. It’s painful. It’s probably not awesome a lot of the time. But dynasties aren’t made from distractions.

Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi also defended the Patriot Way on Thursday, tweeting that players who can’t handle the experience “are the ones that … expect things are supposed to be given to them.” In other words, coddled.

The Patriots’ atmosphere has been critiqued by several athletes as of late, including Eagles linebacker Lane Johnson who referred to New England as a “fear-based organization,” and defensive end Cassius Marsh, who donned his Eeyore hat and said, “they don’t have fun in Foxboro.” Womp, womp.

Luckily, there is a light at the end of many Patriots seasons for those players looking to have a good time. After all, the Pats have made several trips to Disney World, “the happiest place on Earth,” with Super Bowl rings on their fingers.