Bill Belichick 'absolutely' plans to coach Patriots next season

Responding to a question Monday regarding his plans for the future, Belichick sidestepped one query about his reported interest in returning to the New York Giants before he was asked if he intends to coach the Patriots in 2018.

"Absolutely," Belichick said.

The first question, borne of a report from Peter King of Sports Illustrated, to Belichick regarding his future centered on the possibility of him leaving New England and taking the opening with the Giants.

"Right now, my interest is in trying to do the best I can for our football team to get ready for Saturday night against Tennessee," Belichick replied.

ESPN reported last week a rift between Belichick and owner Robert Kraft and quarterback Tom Brady began this season.

Belichick downplayed the report, which made claims of tension arising of Belichick's apparent decision to bar Brady's personal trainer from what had been unlimited access to players and the team, including a seat on chartered flights to away games.

Brady said in an interview Saturday with Westwood One that there was no fracture with his "genius of a head coach" or an owner "who treats you like a fifth son."

But Brady did not directly address whether he was behind the Patriots' decision to trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in October. Garoppolo, a free agent at the end of the season, is 14 years younger than Brady and had been viewed as the heir apparent in New England. But after the trade, Garoppolo went 6-0 with the 49ers and now is viewed as a potential savior of a struggling organization.

At age 40, Brady guided the Patriots to the top seed in the AFC playoffs, another division title and led the NFL in passing yards.