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Patriots players say they’re perfectly happy being miserable winners

And that’s fine.

NFL: New England Patriots-OTA Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Being a member of the New England Patriots isn’t a blast. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever seen a Bill Belichick press conference or heard a player talk about “The Patriot Way.”

“They don’t have fun there,” 49ers defensive end Cassius Marsh, who played nine games for the Patriots in 2017, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s nothing fun about it. There’s nothing happy about it. I didn’t enjoy any of my time there, you know what I’m saying? It made me for the first time in my life think about not playing football because I hated it that much.”

Eagles guard Brandon Brooks never played for the Patriots, but he played for Texans coach Bill O’Brien and that was as close as he wants to get to The Patriot Way.

“It’s crazy that people haven’t known this,” Brooks said, via Bleeding Green Nation. “It’s been this way for like a decade. You’ve seen— Reggie Wayne did it. He retired. He went [to New England] for a training camp and retired. Shit is not fun there. I was under the same regime in Houston [with O’Brien]. I almost retired. Shit was miserable, every day. Every day.”

Yep, that sounds about right.

Some of the biggest personalities in the NFL — Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, and Aqib Talib, to name a few — have gone to the Patriots where they were essentially given an option: be a boring robot or you’re gone. Just ask agents who told MMQB what it’s like negotiating contract terms with Belichick.

“It’s simple,” Belichick says in his curt monotone, according to men who have been on the other end of the phone. “Does your guy want to win a Super Bowl, or doesn’t he?”

The pitch makes sense. The Patriots have five Super Bowl wins since the turn of the century and Belichick has a 241-84 record with the team. While fun and winning don’t have to be mutually exclusive — it didn’t slow down the Eagles in 2018 — Belichick’s résumé lets him say “my way or the highway.”

But the comments from Marsh and Brooks gave Patriots alumni the chance to be smug about it.

“You hate being miserable, because you’re not a real winner like me!” Bruschi yells to no one between spoonfuls of Wheaties.

Oh, you hated it here? How about you go ride a pony, ya loser.

At least current Patriots player answered questions about the perceived misery of being on the team with some tact.

“I mean, to each his own,” Hightower said, via Pro Football Talk. “I don’t really have anything to say to them. I mean, guys here, I know — I mean, it’s not for everybody. It’s definitely harder than most places, but I mean, that’s part of it. A lot of guys know that when they come here. But, I mean, in the locker room, it’s not Bill’s job to make this fun and this atmosphere fun; it’s the guys around it.

“Every guy in that locker room, I love like a brother. We have fun, whether it’s out here struggling together — blood, sweat and tears — or we’re back in the locker room or we’re hanging out outside of football. So, there’s a time and place for everything, but we know whenever we walk through the building, it’s time to work.”

And that’s really what it boils down to. As long as the Patriots keep winning, you really can’t criticize it much. It’s working pretty damn well in New England, but do y’all have to be so obnoxious about it?