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Bill Belichick's Thoughts on Pro Bowl Nominations: "Proud All Seven Players are Homegrown"

The New England Patriots racked up seven Pro Bowlers this season and head coach Bill Belichick is acting like a proud parent.

"It's great for the players who are recognized, certainly felt like all the players that were recognized were deserving, all had good years," Belichick said. "There are other guys on the team that had good years, too, but that's kind of the way it always is. I'm proud of the fact that all seven of those players are homegrown - they all came in as Patriots, spent their whole career as Patriots, developed as Patriots one way or another, but that's what they all are."

And it's true. Cornerback Malcolm Butler is the only Patriots Pro Bowler not to be drafted, and New England was the only team willing to give him a shot at the roster. Quarterback Tom Brady (6th round), special teamer Matthew Slater (5th round), kicker Stephen Gostkowski (4th round), linebacker Jamie Collins (2nd round), tight end Rob Gronkowski (2nd round), and defensive end Chandler Jones (1st round) were all Belichick draft picks.

"I think the representation speaks a little bit to the balance of the team," Belichick continued. "With Slater and [Stephen] Gostkowski in the kicking game, Rob [Gronkowski] and Tom [Brady] on offense, and Chandler [Jones] and Jamie [Collins] and Malcolm on defense. That's good."

Belichick the General Manager (GM) has done much to help Belichick the Head Coach this season, as the Patriots have been able to overcome the most injuries in the entire league and control the AFC. The Patriots have the top players at the most crucial positions on any football team, other than offensive line.

Additionally, if you think of the Patriots potential snubs, who comes to mind? Linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Devin McCourty. Maybe even safety Patrick Chung. All of these players were drafted by the Patriots.

Not that anyone in the New England locker room will care.

"Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, All-Pro, whatever it is, that's not what any of us are here for," Belichick said. "If it comes, it's great, but that's not our top goal."

That doesn't take away from Belichick understanding how special the nominations can be for some players.

"[Matthew] Slater, five Pro Bowls, father had five Pro Bowls - that's pretty special. Nobody else had done that."

If anyone can appreciate the historic nature of Slater's nominations, it will be Belichick, who declared "I'd love to have 53 guys like [Slater]," when the special teamer signed an extension. It would be a surprise if Belichick's actually as proud as Slater's own father.