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NFL Rules Against Jets’ Belichick

January 21, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ The NFL ruled against Bill Belichick today, saying he breached his contract when he resigned as coach of the New York Jets and cannot work for another team without the Jets’ approval.

Belichick has a six-year contract with the Jets through the 2002 season, but he resigned Jan. 4, one day after being promoted to replace the retiring Bill Parcells.

``Taken as a whole, the contract and the related memoranda constitute an agreement that Mr. Belichick would be the Jets’ head coach except when Parcells served in that capacity,″ NFL commissioner Paul Tagilabue ruled in a grievance filed by Belichick.

``The agreement contemplated that Mr. Belichick would automatically succeed to the head coaching position if Parcells was no longer head coach,″ the commissioner said.

Tagliabue rejected claims by Belichick that he never actually assumed the head coaching job.

In resigning from the Jets, Belichick had cited uncertainties about the team’s ownership situation amid speculation that he was interested in a more powerful post as general manager and coach of the New England Patriots.

The Jets, sold on Monday for $635 million to Robert Wood Johnson IV, argued that the contract is ironclad and will demand compensation to let Belichick out of it.

Belichick came to the Jets with Parcells from the Patriots before the 1997 season. In a deal brokered by Tagliabue at that time, the Patriots got four draft choices to allow Parcells to leave New England for New York.

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