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Former Patriot says he crashed car to avoid being cut by Bill Belichick when late to practice

Scooby Axson
USA TODAY

Longtime New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a reputation for wanting things done his way, to include not being late for anything, no matter what the excuse is. 

Former Patriots lineman Rich Ohrnberger found himself in a predicament and knew he was going to be late for practice because he overslept. 

“I wake up, my phone died overnight, and I realize I’m waking up to the sound of birds chirping and not my alarm going off,” Ohrnberger said on his radio show, “The Hartman & Rich O Show." “I am frantic. I don’t even bother looking at the clock, I know I’m late.” 

Rich Ohrnberger with the New England Patriots in 2011.

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“I’m five minutes to being officially late, and I’ve got a 15 minute drive ahead of me,” he said. “I’m gonna be 10 minutes late for this day. I have this sinking feeling in my stomach like, ‘I’m gonna be cut. [Belichick’s] not gonna have me on this football team come tomorrow. What do I do?’”

But instead of fessing up and fearful of being released, Ohrnberger, who was drafted by the Patriots in fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft and played there until 2011, did what any non-rational human would do: He decided to have a little fender-bender. 

“I see a church van in front of me that’s all dinged up and it’s got the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna hit this car,'" Ohrnberger says. "It’s better to pay the insurance than embarrass myself by being late for a Patriots team meeting.” 

So Ohrnberger rear-ended another vehicle, while claiming he “didn’t hit him hard" and made sure to get proof of the accident just in case someone asked about his tardiness. 

Ohrnberger says he paid the elderly man in the other vehicle off and ended up keeping his job.