9: 23 PM ET
Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer
- Covered Patriots since 1997
- Joined ESPN at 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — President Donald Trump plans to award New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick that the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday, according to numerous reports.
A spokesperson for the Patriots did not respond to a request for comment.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established by John F. Kennedy in 1963, and it is awarded by the president to people who have made outstanding contributions to the security of national interests of America, to world peace or cultural of other important public or private jobs.
The honour for Belichick comes as the U.S. House of Representatives is rising pressure to force Trump from office before the end of the term Jan. 20, following Trump incited a mob which attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday while Congress was in the process of confirming Joe Biden as his successor.
Trump has just chosen several sports figures and political backers for the honor. Hall of Fame golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, Together with the late Olympian Babe Didrikson Zaharias, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday.
Belichick, 68, just concluded his 46th season in the NFL and 21st as Patriots coach. He’s led the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships, joining George Halas and Curly Lambeau since the only coaches with six championships since the league began postseason play in 1933.
Belichick’s 311 victories (regular season and playoffs combined) are all third time, behind Don Shula (347) and Halas (324).
Belichick’s link to Trump was at the news from the days before Trump was elected as president in November 2016.
At a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump read a letter to the crowd he said Belichick sent to him.
The letter, according to Trump, read:”Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media and have come out beautifully. You’ve proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable. Hopefully tomorrow’s election results will give the opportunity to make America great again. Best wishes for great results tomorrow. Bill Belichick.”
Belichick later told reporters he composed the letter out of loyalty and friendship.
“I’ve received quite a few queries relative to a notice which I wrote to Donald on Monday. Our fri