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Bill Belichick's endorsement of Joe Judge made John Mara take notice

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, speaks with

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, speaks with special teams coach Joe Judge, right, during practice on Dec. 20, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. Credit: AP/Steven Senne

Giants co-owner John Mara said he spoke with Bill Belichick several times about Joe Judge. Did Mara ever gauge Belichick’s interest in the job for himself?

“Bill’s under contract,” Mara said bluntly.

Belichick’s opinion of Judge helped land him this job, as did the recommendation from Alabama coach Nick Saban. What really stood out to Mara, though, was that Saban had recommended Judge to Belichick.

“Obviously, Nick is not going to send Bill a dog,” Mara said.

Still, it was nice to hear praise about Judge from Belichick himself.

“One thing Bill said was that he gave Joe more and more responsibility and very quickly he stopped having to look over his shoulder,” Mara said. “The more I spoke to him, the more excited I got about Joe Judge… I have a lot of respect for Bill. We have a good relationship. He doesn’t have bad coaches on his staff. I think he has said publicly that Joe’s one of the best coaches he’s ever had. All of that was factored in.”

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