Bill Belichick laments the passing of the iconic NFL defensive coordinator

Over his fifty years in the NFL, Bill Belichick has had the opportunity to interact with hundreds of outstanding players and coaches.   

During their brief tenure, he was greatly influenced by one such coach, the recently retired Joe Collier.  

Belichick issued a statement this week lamenting the departure of Collier, the veteran assistant and former defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos  

Belichick referred to Collier as "one of the greatest minds" in NFL history in the statement, citing Collier's assistance in teaching him the ins and outs of play calling and game preparation.  

"Being Joe's assistant for a year with the Broncos in 1978 was a fantastic opportunity to  

"He took the time to educate and enlighten me on his preparation for game planning and play calling," stated Belichick.   

"Under Coach Collier's guidance, I gained a new perspective on the game and will always value our professional and interpersonal friendship. My deepest sympathies go out to his kids and the whole family.  

In 1978, Belichick's only season with the team, he worked as the defensive assistant and assistant special teams coordinator for the Broncos. The New York Giants hired him the following season as a result of his efforts under Collier and head coach Red Miller.  

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