Belichick, Pats with a nice touch

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened his news conference with a nice touch Friday. As he arrived at the podium, he looked toward Boston Globe reporter Monique Walker and offered his congratulations.

Walker's last day at the Globe is today. She's headed to the Baltimore Sun.

"You’re going to God’s country, huh?" Belichick said. "Take good care of Navy football and Hopkins lacrosse, OK? It would be an honor to have you ask the first question today. Or would you rather do the last one?"

And with that, the news conference got off to an unexpected start.

Walker, a true class act, joked that she might ask about injuries. She then asked about Belichick's experience scouting players at Rutgers, and with that, a 20-minute news conference began in which Belichick was in rare form, particularly on some "history of the game" topics.

Later, the Patriots' media relations staff headed by Stacey James and Aaron Salkin presented Walker with a "game ball" signed by many regular Patriots reporters, while also serving cake.

It was a nice touch for one of the nicest reporters on the beat.