'Getting ready for Kansas City,' Belichick won't answer questions on future (0:21)Bill Belichick won't comment on his coaching future, instead saying he's "getting ready for Kansas City." (0:21)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick deflected multiple questions about his job status Wednesday, repeating the same answer each time: "I'm getting ready for Kansas City."
Belichick's 3-10 team hosts the Chiefs on Sunday, a game that was flexed from ESPN's "Monday Night Football" mainly because of the team's struggles.
Speculation about Belichick's future has swirled in part because owner Robert Kraft has been clear about his expectations. Entering the fourth season since quarterback Tom Brady's free agency departure, which pained Kraft, the 82-year-old owner said in March that "it's very important to me that we make the playoffs."
The Patriots were officially eliminated from the postseason Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Indianapolis Colts. It marked the earliest the franchise has been knocked out since 2000, Belichick's first season as head coach.
The Patriots have also clinched their third losing season in the four years since Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent. Their last playoff win was a 13-3 triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, 2019.
Kraft hasn't publicly addressed Belichick's future since the season began but spoke in generalities Saturday as a guest on ESPN's "College GameDay," which was live from Gillette Stadium before the Army-Navy game there.
Asked what has contributed to his success over 30 years as Patriots owner, he said: "It's all about people. Collecting good people. People of good character. People who are loyal. I'm very happy that most of our key people have been with us for a long time. We have a head coach who has been with us 24 years. That's the model we have in all our companies. ... We like to win, so we want to do everything we can to get our team back so we can be winning."
Bill Belichick deflected multiple questions about his job status with the Patriots on Wednesday, answering, "I'm getting ready for Kansas City" each time. Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire
The day before, Kraft noted how much of a toll the losing season has had on him, telling "Patriots All-Access" he finally was able to sleep and "feel good" after the team snapped a five-game losing streak with a Dec. 7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Monday, NBC Sports Boston reported, citing anonymous sources, that the Patriots and Belichick would split after the 2023 season -- a decision that reportedly was made after the team's 10-6 loss to the Colts in Frankfurt, Germany, on Nov. 12.
The report sparked multiple questions to Belichick on Wednesday morning, in the coach's first media availability leading into Sunday's game. Belichick was asked whether it was his understanding that Kraft wouldn't ask him back, whether he still wanted to coach beyond 2023, and whether there have been any internal discussions about his future. Each time, he responded by saying: "I'm getting ready for Kansas City."
Belichick's 24-year tenure as head coach is the longest in the NFL, and overall, it is the fifth-longest tenure by a head coach with one team.
His six Super Bowl championships as a head coach joins George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only NFL coaches with six championships since the league began postseason play in 1933.
Belichick has 332 total victories (regular season and playoffs), which ranks him second all time behind Don Shula (347).
In March, Kraft was asked whether Belichick was guaranteed to be Patriots coach until he broke Shula's record, and said: "Look, I'd like him to break Don Shula's record, but I'm not looking for any of our players to get great stats. We're about winning and doing whatever we can to win. That's what our focus is now."
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