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Belichick lauds Johnson for his 'Survivor' appearance

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the first to admit that being a contestant on "Survivor" isn't on his bucket list. But that doesn't diminish his appreciation for close friend Jimmy Johnson's decision to compete on the show, which is set to air this fall from Nicaragua.

"That's quite a contrast from the environment I usually see him in," said Belichick of the 67-year-old Johnson. "I usually see him in this [football] environment, or on a boat fishing, relaxing on a nice day in the [Florida] Keys. I hear it's pretty rough on Survivor, and he's taken some mosquito bites." 

Belichick struck up a close relationship with Johnson when both were head coaches in the early 1990's — Johnson in Dallas and Belichick in Cleveland.

"Jimmy is a great guy," Belichick said. "We’ve had a great relationship. I have so much respect for what he’s done. At the time he did it, he was one of the first guys to do things the way he did it in building a team from scratch [in Dallas]. Seeing him in that environment [on Survivor], my hat's off. I don't think I could handle that."

Belichick said Johnson has been helpful on a number of occasions, "just being able to talk to somebody that's sat pretty much in the same situations you've been in. 'How did you do this? When you have to consider a, b and c, how did you sort that out? What was your thought process?' We had a number of interactions when he was at Dallas and when he was at Miami ... It's a lot easier now that he's not in Miami [with the Dolphins]. We can talk about things. It's not competitive, just as friends."

Johnson said being on Survivor was tougher than three-a-day football practices.

"At least if you're going through those practices, you get a good night's sleep and you have food in your stomach," Johnson said Tuesday. "We got no sleep, and there were days we were existing on less than 100 calories a day. It was extremely difficult."

Johnson spent a month as one of 20 castaways on the show, which premieres Sept. 15. Johnson didn't say how he did in the competition. But he admitted he was delighted when it was over.

"I was happy when they handed me that first light beer," Johnson told The Associated Press. "People ask me did I enjoy it, and I have to hesitate. I can't say that I really enjoyed it, but I'm really glad I did it. It was just a great adventure, but it was at times miserable."

New York Sports