When asked whether he had any regrets in his long career, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Parcells said he was remorseful about the way things ended with the New England Patriots.
"I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently ... " the coach told USA Today. "I had a good, young team there. I hated to leave that team because I knew what we could do."
As Patriots coach, Parcells turned them from laughingstocks to contenders from 1993-96 but also had his clashes with owner Robert Kraft during his tenure. What stands out most is the bitter end to his stint in New England. While his team was preparing to play in Super Bowl XXXI in early 1997, word leaked that he was being courted by the New York Jets. He left for the Jets soon after.
"I was absolutely too headstrong. And he might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently," Parcells said.
Kraft also regrets how things ended with Parcells, recalling a conversation he had about a decade ago in which they made peace.
"At a Super Bowl, Bill was standing there as I approached, and he just said to me, 'If I had to do it all over again, I would have done things differently.' And I said, 'So would I,'" Kraft told USA Today.
"It would have been pretty special. We were just coming at it from different times. And so much in life is timing. But in the end, we have a great relationship today. I have great respect for him. He did a great deal for our franchise. And I will forever be grateful for that."
Parcells will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 3. He was a finalist for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011 and 2012 but lost out to Drew Bledsoe and Troy Brown, respectively.