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Belichick: Talks with Josh McDaniels led to Colts spurn

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Before Josh McDaniels infamously spurned the Indianapolis Colts to remain with the New England Patriots, he had a meeting with his boss, Bill Belichick.

Speaking Sunday at the Annual League Meeting, Belichick said he was "thrilled" to have his offensive coordinator return and detailed the timeline that led to McDaniels' flip-flop.

"We got back from Minnesota [following Super Bowl LII] and I had an opportunity to talk to Josh, and we were able to work some things out, so I'm thrilled that he's still with us,'' Belichick said, via the team's official website.

"Once that game ended I think that really gave Josh and I a chance to sit down and talk more directly about the situation, as opposed to [before], 'Well, we really want to talk about the [Super Bowl] to try and compete in that game.' Before the game we had minimal discussions, but they were much deeper and longer and more in depth and more constructive immediately after the game.''

After those discussions, McDaniels backed out of his commitment to the Colts, who ultimately rebounded by hiring ex-Eagles OC Frank Reich.

McDaniels has not spoken to the media since the decision. Belichick said it was a conscious decision for the OC not to attend the combine and to keep a low profile.

"Absolutely. He's working extremely hard [on the Pro Day circuit]," Belichick said. "It's good. We're covering our tracks. If you can't find him, that's a good thing.''

NFL owners in Orlando are expected to consider a new proposal that would permit coaches of teams still in the playoffs to sign contracts. Current rules prohibit assistants from inking deals until eliminated from postseason contention.

Other notes from Belichick's meeting with the media:

1. The Pats' coach was mum on the reasons for benching Malcolm Butler during Super Bowl LII:

"I have a lot of respect for Malcolm," Belichick said. "From the day he got here in rookie minicamp four years ago, he's always competed as hard as he could. He was always a great competitor on the field, and I totally respect that. I'm not going to get into last year. I talked to Malcolm. I wish him well in Tennessee."

2. Belichick was similarly muted when asked if he's spoken to Rob Gronkowski about potential retirement talk from the tight end:

"I'm not going to speak for anybody else,'' he said. "Conversations I have with the players, I keep those private between myself and the player. I don't speak to anybody else."

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