Slick moves by Belichick
He reacts to wet conditions
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Bill Belichick likened the Bartram Trail High School field the Patriots practiced on yesterday to an ice rink. The coach said he was so concerned about the conditions that he held out Richard Seymour entirely and held back several players from their normal rotation. Also, linebacker Ted Johnson missed practice with a tight leg.
The field was wet from rain Saturday, and the weather was unseasonably cool yesterday.
"It's slick," said Belichick. "We're not even going full speed and guys are falling all over the place."
At last year's Super Bowl in Houston, Belichick pulled the team out of its practice field and moved it to a different site. Asked if he would do it again, Belichick said, "Hopefully things will be better out here."
The NFL invested more than $250,000 in a new drainage system and new grass for the field.
Seymour, who injured his knee Dec. 26, did light work on the side, hit a sled, and did one-on-one drills with practice squad offensive lineman Billy Yates.
"After I saw the field, there was no way I was going to put him out there today, throw him out there when everyone was slipping and sliding around," Belichick said.
"We didn't put everybody out there today; that is really more for Wednesday. Some of the guys out there are guys that we wanted to get reps, that normally wouldn't get that many, just to cover us on depth."
Belichick said before last week's AFC Championship game that he hoped Seymour could play situationally, but that never materialized. Seymour has told associates that he will play in the Super Bowl.
Belichick said of his status, "If Rich is healthy, he'll play."
Irving Fryar, who played for the Patriots and Eagles, is here working for a Philadelphia radio station. The former wide receiver, who now has his own nondenominational church in New Jersey, was asked to comment on Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who made headlines with comments about the Patriots secondary.
"I think a lot of it is just Freddie being Freddie," said Fryar. "He's a guy that talks. He's not a guy who's going to set back and keep things to himself."
When Mitchell said he "had something for Rodney Harrison," Fryar didn't think he meant something physical. "Freddie is a lover, not a fighter," said Fryar.
Asked whether the Patriots have been making too much of it, Fryar said, "No. It's good. It gives us [in the media] something to do.
"What this week is all about is that somebody is going to say something that's going to fuel a fire. I know in my own case, after my seventh year in the league, Cris Collinsworth got on TV and said I was washed up and that I would never play another year in the league. That's only because he played seven years. I used that for the next 10 years. I would work out and think about what Cris Collinsworth said. And I would put Cris Collinsworth's face on everybody else.
"My motivation to wake up every morning and go to the weight room and do my running and be the best I could be was the motivation that somebody thought I was going to fail. Somebody said I couldn't do it. Somebody said they were better than me. And then people had the nerve to believe him. That made it worse.
"Believe me, if Rodney Harrison has a chance to hit Freddie Mitchell, he's going to hit Freddie Mitchell and there's going to be a little something extra in it because of what Freddie said."
Fryar said the "Super Bowl Shuffle" the Bears were doing at the 1986 Super Bowl didn't bother him much because he was preoccupied with the turmoil in his personal life.
"I was making more mistakes off the field than I was on it," he said. "That was supposed to be a time of pleasure but that was a painful time in my life."
Fryar said his coach in New England, Raymond Berry, was like Belichick in the way he would build up the opponent.
"I remember when Raymond Berry came in to be our coach in New England -- and maybe Belichick talked to Berry, I don't know -- Berry was very careful in explaining to us that you never say anything bad about your opponent," said Fryar. "You never give your opponent any fuel. You want to build them up, so you can chop them down."
Bye, bye, Charlie
Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis took advantage of last week's bye week to fly to South Bend, Ind., Friday and take care of some recruiting duties at Notre Dame. Weis, who has been working the phones and email in his new position as Notre Dame coach, also went to South Bend for a day when the Patriots were idle during the first week of playoffs . . . Today is Media Day, so the Patriots won't practice until tomorrow . . . The FleetCenter is raffling off a Super Bowl package for two, including tickets, to benefit the Sports Museum. The winner receives two tickets to the game, hotel accommodations, and airline vouchers. Go to www.fleetcenter.com or www.sportsmuseum.org to enter by 9 a.m. Thursday. Entries are $20 each . . . Merrimack College will raffle off two Super Bowl tickets plus a charter flight to the game during the first intermission of Saturday night's men's hockey game against UMass-Lowell . . . Channel 5 has changed the air time for its "Welcome to Jacksonville" special Thursday. Instead of beginning at 7 p.m., it now will air from 10-11 p.m.
Mark Blaudschun and Bill Griffith of the Globe staff contributed to this report.