Young Belichick took his turn as The Turk

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Bill Belichick used to be The Turk.

Sounds like a fitting job for the man Bill Parcells once dubbed "Doom" for his stolid demeanor.

The Turk is the universal term -- nobody's sure where it began -- for every team's preseason grim reaper, the golem who approaches a player who's about to die and says, "Coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook."

With rosters being cut down to 75 today and to 53 on Saturday afternoon, Belichick waxed nostalgic about being The Turk as part of his first NFL job. It was 1975, and he was a 23-year-old special assistant on Ted Marchibroda's Baltimore Colts staff.

"I think everyone knew at that time that I wasn't the one making the decision," Belichick said. "I wasn't really the one telling them [they were being cut], but when they saw me it was bad news. They knew that.

"They knew if I was in the area that didn't bode well for them. If I wasn't in the area then the coast was clear."

Belichick has been spreading joy ever since.

But the dreadful process of taking a sickle to the roster never gets easy for a coach, regardless of how many years he's been in the league or how many Super Bowls he has won.

"It is hard," Belichick said. "The players work hard and give a lot. Some of them have given a lot for a number of years. It's not all rookies that we're releasing.

"You develop a relationship with the guys. They've won for you, played for you and given you everything they've got. At some point you have to make those decisions. It is one of the least fun parts of the job."