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Taking a deep dive into one of Bill Belichick’s favorite compliments

Related: Patriots are getting closer to finding out what kind of team they are, says Bill Belichick

AFC Wild Card: Tennesee Titans Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Throughout Bill Belichick’s 20-plus year career as the New England Patriots head coach, he has made a handful of phrases well-known throughout his infamous press conferences. From “Do your job” to “No days off” to most recently “Day-by-day”, Belichick has proven to be one with words.

During his weekly radio appearance on WEEI on Monday, Belichick broke out one of his famous phrases when talking about wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

“I love KB,” Belichick said. “He’s very passionate about the game, his performance, the team. Works hard and has helped us and will help us. It’s great to have him on the field because he’s an explosive player. He’s one of our key guys in the passing game. We’re always working to try to improve, do things better. And nobody works harder at it than KB. He always practices hard, works hard in practice. And I don’t think that’ll change, that’s just who he is. He loves football and he competes well.”

Could you find it?

That’s right, “Nobody works harder.”

The phrase has been a popular one from the coach throughout his tenure, which got me thinking - who else has played in New England that nobody has worked harder than (because that’s possible according to Belichick)?

After digging through Google searches and old Belichick transcripts for the past week, a list of players were complied that were deemed to “work harder” than everyone else. Throughout our research, Belichick has spewed the compliment 44 times about 37 players over his tenure.

The leader in the clubhouse? Tom Brady, to no surprise. We have Belichick on record explaining that nobody works harder than Tom five times throughout his career.

Besides Brady, the list is all over the map. While the Julian Edelman’s and Matthew Slater’s are expected, names like Geneo Grissom, Tyler Gaffney, and Danny Etling round it out. Our earliest use of the phrase dated all the way back to 2002 with Brady, but Stephen Neal and Bobby Hamilton were not too far behind in 2003. And most recently before Bourne was given the honor, wide receiver Tre Nixon this past training camp.

Make sure to check out the full list either here or below, and let us know if you find any other additions that we may have missed!