Plenty of folks have weighed in on the great Bill Belichick vs. Tom Brady debate.
As if there's only enough credit for one of them to bask in their six shared Super Bowl championships.
But rarely have those opinions come from a member of the New England Patriots dynasty. Asante Samuel bucked the norm on Tuesday, chiming in with a blunt take on Belichick. The former Patriots cornerback is Team Tom.
He clarified his stance on Twitter shortly after news broke of Cam Newton's release, a decision that he concurred was "cold blooded.
Cold blooded is a understatement! But without Brady he is just another coach in my opinion https://t.co/FvNocsC2UF
— Asante Samuel (@pick_six22) August 31, 2021
Belichick isn't immune to criticism from ex-Patriots, of course. But it generally arrives from those whose tenure was short-lived and sans Super Bowl ring.
Take journeyman defensive end Cassius Marsh, who was waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday. Marsh spent nine games with New England in 2017. He called "The Patriot Way" extremely impressive on Tom Segura's podcast in July. He then declared that the Patriots "treat players like crap" under Belichick.
Marsh's claim wasn't a revelation. He issued a similar sentiment in 2018, telling the San Francisco Chronicle in 2018 that the Patriots "made me for the first time in my life think about not playing football because I hated it that much.”
Other ex-Patriots like Danny Amendola and Nate Solder have described playing for the New England as less than fun. At the same time, they buy in that the team's rigid, competitive structure sets the standard for winning in the NFL.
And then there's Samuel, who played five seasons with the Patriots at the front-end of their dynasty, winning two Super Bowl rings and earning All-Pro honors in 2007 before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles. He's not here for the Patriot Way. And he doesn't believe that it works without Brady.
In fact, Tuesday wasn't the first time he expressed that sentiment. He tweeted a similar if not quite as pointed take last season in the aftermath of Brady's departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
You can’t just let top players go and expect to win. The only reason they got away with it is because of Tom Brady. I always said this and hate how they treat the players. #pick6
— Asante Samuel (@pick_six22) October 29, 2020
Here's guessing Samuel won't be attending any Patriots reunions. None that don't include Brady, at least.