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Report: Kraft warned Falcons not to trust Belichick

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft cautioned Arthur Blank, his Atlanta Falcons counterpart, against hiring Bill Belichick in January, sources told ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham, and Jeremy Fowler.

"Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill," a source close to Belichick said.

Belichick, the former Patriots coach who won six Super Bowls with the franchise, was widely perceived to be the front-runner for the Falcons' job this offseason. But Atlanta went in a different direction, hiring Raheem Morris after Blank and Belichick met on the owner's yacht.

A spokesperson for Kraft denied that the owner said anything negative about Belichick during his conversations with Blank.

"Robert steadfastly denies saying anything negative to Arthur Blank about Bill Belichick after Robert and Bill mutually agreed to part ways. In fact, Robert advocated for Bill to get the job," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.

The Falcons were reportedly concerned about Belichick's ability to operate without the full autonomy he received in New England. Atlanta's front office believed that the 72-year-old would revert back to his old habits once he was hired.

Morris, 47, emerged as the Falcons' top candidate, followed by former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald and Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik. Belichick failed to land in the top three of any Falcons decision-makers when they ranked their coaching candidates.

The relationship between Kraft and Belichick reportedly deteriorated toward the end of the coach's tenure with the Patriots, and Belichick's relationship with Tom Brady contributed to changing dynamics.

The Patriots reportedly considered moving on from Belichick after the 2022 season, but Jonathan Kraft, who serves as the club's president, talked his father out of it.

"(Kraft) found Bill to be extremely difficult and obstinate and kind of stubborn and, in the end, not worthy of his trust," a source close to the owner told ESPN. "And also very, very, very arrogant."

With the coaching carousel now over, Belichick is looking to join the media as he awaits another opportunity to return to the sideline. It's believed that the former coach will sign a deal with Peyton Manning's Omaha Productions, which produces ESPN's "Manningcast" during Monday Night Football.

Belichick will co-host "The Pat McAfee Show Draft Spectacular" on April 25 live in Detroit that will be streamed on ESPN+.

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