Bill Belichick: Nothing but love for Doc Rivers

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and some teammates were invited to the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room by Doc Rivers on Monday night, where they chatted with the coach and his players players and even spent time with pop star Justin Bieber.

Rivers, who was the Boston Celtics coach from 2004-2013 and won an NBA championship in 2008, is close with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“I love Doc. We have a great relationship,” Belichick said during a conference call on Tuesday. “I think he’s obviously done a tremendous job in Boston and now with the Clippers, so always pulling for Doc personally.”

Belichick responded to a question about Rivers’ invitation to players and his declaration that the Patriots are a “real football team.”

“He talked to our team, has a relationship with players on our team,” Belichick said. “I have tremendous respect for him. He is so well-respected on this team -- the players, the coaches and all of us who have interacted with him and the way he handles himself, his team and his passion for his sport of basketball.

“But, also his appreciation for our team, professional athletes, football players, what we do through the relationships and the challenges of playing and competing at this level. So, it’s all great with Doc.”

Belichick continued with praise for Rivers and welcomed all efforts he makes with the Patriots organization and its players.

“I think all of the times he talked with the team and the messages that he has delivered were outstanding,” Belichick said. “Nobody understands sports -- especially someone who is not in football -- better than he does. He has a great ability to relate to our athletes our team.

“I am very appreciative of the friendship that I have with him. I have the utmost respect for Doc. Everything that he has done for us, can do and any support he gives us is very appreciated.”