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Searching for answers

NFL conducts hearing on Belichick contract

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Posted: Friday January 14, 2000 12:04 AM

  Bill Belichick Bill Belichick has three years remaining on a Jets contract signed before the 1997 season. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL conducted a day-long hearing on Bill Belichick's grievance Thursday as the coach sought clarification of his contract status.

Belichick resigned as coach of the New York Jets on Jan. 4, one day after Bill Parcells stepped aside and anointed the defensive coordinator as his successor. Belichick cited uncertainties about the Jets' ownership situation amid speculation that he was interested in a more powerful post as general manager and coach of the New England Patriots.

Belichick has three years remaining on a Jets contract signed when he came with Parcells from the Patriots before the 1997 season. The Jets, sold on Monday for $635 million to Robert Wood Johnson, have argued that the contract is ironclad and will demand compensation to let Belichick out of it. In a deal brokered by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the Patriots got four draft choices to allow Parcells to leave New England for New York.

After each side presented 15-minute opening statements Thursday, Parcells was the first witness, followed by Charlie Weis, the Jets' offensive coordinator, and Belichick.

Following an afternoon break, the hearing resumed with the Jets cross-examining their former defensive coordinator.

Tagliabue sat in for the first part of the testimony but then left to conduct another hearing on the suspension of Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Orlando Brown.

No decision in the Belichick grievance was expected before next week.

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