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Patriots HC Bill Belichick on Saints DE Cam Jordan: 'One of the players I have the most respect for in the league'

To begin his Wednesday news conference, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick complimented a list of New Orleans Saints players and coaches ahead of their Week 5 game.

Belichick spent a little extra time talking about Cam Jordan.

"Jordan is one of the players I have the most respect for in the league," Belichick said, via team transcript. "He's been a great player for a long time, very durable, whatever it was -- 177 straight games he played. This guy shows up every week and plays well, run, pass, situational football, really smart player. This guy's a great player. "

Jordan has eight Pro Bowl selections in 13 seasons to go with 116 career sacks and a spot on the Hall of Fame's All-2010s Team. Still, it might not be a stretch to say he's been overlooked. He's been an All-Pro just once, he's produced double-digit sacks in six seasons but never led the league and he's been a standout on a Saints team that for so much of his tenure was known for its Drew Brees-led offense.

But Belichick has noticed him, particularly his consistent greatness.

"His consistency, his durability," Belichick said when asked what it was about Jordan that earned him so much respect. "He's play-after-play production."

As mentioned by Belichick, Jordan played in 172 straight games (not 177) to start his career before the streak was snapped in 2021 due to COVID-19 protocol. A season later, Jordan missed his first (and only) game so far due to injury. Thus, he's played in 196 of a possible 198 games since the Saints took him in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Just three of those games were against Belichick's Patriots, with Jordan going 1-2 against New England, compiling one sack, seven tackles and five QB hits.

"Luckily, we haven't played him too often," Belichick said. "It's unusual to get them two years apart, that's the extra game, otherwise it's every four years."

Belichick's not a stranger to heaping praise on an opposing player, but it certainly doesn't take away from the compliment of being commended by perhaps the greatest coach of all time. If it's an opposing offensive player, chances are Belichick's going to game plan to stop him. If it's a defensive player, it might be all the more special considering that's the side of the ball that's held tight to the future Hall of Famer's heart for so long.

In some ways, perhaps, the 34-year-old Jordan and the 71-year-old Belichick find themselves at similar career crossroads.

Belichick is trying to revive a franchise he led to six Super Bowl wins, but hasn't had a postseason victory since 2018. Jordan has just half a sack this year and knows his playing days are closer to the end than the start. The two defensive maestros will share the arena, perhaps for a final time, on Sunday.

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