So Bill Belichick hasn’t become a softy after all.
The Patriots canceling their OTA practice for Wednesday turned out to be the NFL coming down on New England for breaking the rules.
The league docked Belichick’s team two days of voluntary organized activities because of a violation of offseason rules, according to ESPN.
It would have been their third day of OTAs.
The Patriots also will be docked an OTA day next week.
New England is no stranger to breaking NFL rules.
It was punished by the league, including fines levied against Belichick and the organization as well as the loss of draft picks for the Spygate scandle in 2007.
The Patriots were found to have been illegally videotaping Jets coach’s hand signals on the sidelines during a game.
They were sanctioned again for a Spygate redux in 2020 for illegally videotaping the Bengals sideline during a Week 14 game in 2019.
The Patriots paid a $1 million fine and lost their third-round pick in 2021 for doing so.
In 2015, then-quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the regular season, the team was fined $1 million and had two draft picks docked as punishment after it was found the team took some of the air out of the footballs for their 45-7 AFC Championship game win against the Colts — the NFL scandal known as “Deflategate.”
New England is coming off a 8-9 season and missing the playoffs for the second time in the past three years.