Chad Johnson only played his final NFL season for the New England Patriots. That was enough to know that Bill Belichick means serious business and runs his team and practices unlike anything the six-time Pro Bowl selection saw in 12 pro seasons.
In fact, Johnson was so traumatized by his experience in New England, he’s a little hesitant to talk about what he witnessed during his brief time there to this day. Appearing on the FS1 show “Undisputed” on Tuesday, the long-time Bengals receiver reluctantly shared some stories about Belichick, likening the Patriots head coach to Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from the movie “Full Metal Jacket.”
“You mess up a play, let’s run it again,” Johnson continues. “You mess up again, let’s run it again. Everything was perfect. Like, remember Full Metal Jacket? Remember the beginning of Full Metal Jacket? That’s what it’s like being there. Everything is on point, and Bill is that drill sergeant.”
Johnson also talked about being scared on his first day after Belichick, without introduction, put on the tape from the previous season’s playoff loss to the New York Jets and begin ripping into quarterback Tom Brady’s performance.
Although these might seem like criticisms from Johnson, and to some extent they are, he also acknowledged that the way Belichick does things is the reason why the Patriots are so great year after year.
To the extent that Belichick is a drill sergeant, it would be interesting to hear other players weigh in on that. Keep in mind though, Johnson spent the other 11 seasons of his career in Cincinnati, many of those years under Marvin Lewis, and that coaching staff and organization tolerated a lot of nonsense from a great player.