By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- The NFL in 2020 is going to be very different. Perhaps you had heard?
Among the many unique circumstances in the league during this COVID-19 pandemic is a rather peculiar setup in Philadelphia, where the Eagles have signed Josh McCown as a practice squad quarterback. The 41-year-old won't be practicing with the Eagles though; instead he'll be living in Texas, making $12,000 a week, basically being on call in case a slew of injuries and/or infections sweeps through the locker room. Really, though, with the NFL opening practice squad spots to players with unlimited NFL experience, McCown is essentially a video conference mentor for his younger QB brethren in Philly.
On Tuesday morning, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked if he's considering doing something similar in Foxboro. He responded with a joke -- or at least, we think it was a a joke.
"Well I think we got Scott Zolak right around the corner if it really comes to that," Belichick said of the former Patriots backup-turned-radio commentator. "So hopefully he'll be ready to go if we need him."
When reminded that at Zolak's ripe age of 52, it might be hard for the gunslinger to get his arm loose in a hurry.
"Uh, Scott's a big strong guy," Belichick replied. "I don't think it will take too long."
(Zolak stepping to the line and barking out pre-snap calls like, "Unicorns! Show ponies! Where's the beef?" echoing around in an empty stadium would be some tremendous theater, we all must admit.)
Then, in a moment that has likely never happened before, Belichick was politely asked to quit joking around during the press conference and to answer the question seriously.
"Yeah I mean, everybody's in the same boat on this, and there are really just a lot of unknowns," a now-serious Belichick said. "So you can take several different approaches. I don't know that there's a right or wrong answer. I think everybody's going to do what they think is best based on their situation. We've talked about various scenarios and how to best maintain the depth and quality of our team. But again there's a lot of things that we can't predict, so we've done what we feel like's the best that we can do in that area, but I don't know if that's -- again, it will depend on what happens. So we'll just have to see how it plays out. I think we're ready to do some things if we feel the need to do 'em. So if that happens, we'll react accordingly. At this time, we feel like we're OK where we are. But that could change. So we'll just have to see."
Reading between the lines there ... it's probably time for everyone to pull those dusty Zolak jerseys out of storage. You know, just in case.
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