Belichick: 'We have a lot of tough guys'

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Rob Gronkowski played through illness Sunday.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After quarterback Tom Brady hinted that numerous Patriots gutted out Sunday's win over the Jets due to injuries and illness, coach Bill Belichick somewhat downplayed the suggestion on Monday afternoon, but admitted New England has "a lot of tough guys on our team" and commended the players that overcame obstacles to aid the effort.

Brady specifically pointed to Rob Gronkowski during his postgame press conference on Sunday and, pressed on the issue, the tight end later revealed an illness left him uncertain he'd play the morning of the game. During his weekly Monday appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI, Brady again referenced playing through adversity.

“I thought a lot of guys played really tough,” said Brady. "Some guys were feeling pretty under the weather [Sunday] and really battled through that. Guys were definitely less than 100 percent, as a lot of teams are, but I thought a lot of guys really sucked it up and made huge efforts in the game to get out there and make enough plays to beat those guys.”

Belichick responded to the notion later on Monday.

"I think everybody’s got something," said Belichick. "We’ve played, what, nine games now [including the preseason]? That's a lot of practices, a lot of games. I'm sure a lot of guys are banged up -- we have them, the Jets have them, everybody has them, that's part of the game. We have lot of tough guys on our team. We've got guys practicing that are less than 100 percent and guys playing that are less than 100 percent -- working hard and playing hard. I have a lot of respect for that, both physically and mentally, the toughness they showed in a tough game. There was a lot of good contact in that game.

"But I'm sure every team has that, too. I respect what our guys are doing, the way they did it [Sunday] -- both through the week of practice and out there in the game."