He may have robbed him of a chance at an NFL career, but Michael Bishop doesn't consider Bill Belichick a cheating thief.
No more than any other football coach or player with the drive to win, anyway.
The Argos quarterback, who played a year under Belichick before the New England Patriots released him in 2001, remembers a coach anxious to exploit any edge.
Which, Bishop believes, is an expected part of the deal in the cut-throat world of professional football.
"In the time I was in New England they were saying things about people stealing signals and making sure you hide your signals," Bishop said yesterday. "It was part of the game.
"The coaches were quite concerned about it and making sure we were aware. But that's everywhere in football.
"Every team steals signals. The object is not to get caught."
Bishop believes too much is being made out of allegations that are all the rage in the NFL which allege the Pats were using recording devices to steal opponent's defensive signals.
"If you're not trying to get an edge on your opponent ... that's part of football," Bishop said. "If you can get an edge, get an edge."
Though his time with New England is noted most for paving the way for Tom Brady when he was released, Bishop says he had no hard feelings towards Belichick.
The three-time Super Bowl winning coach took over the reins in 2000, a season in which Bishop saw action in eight games. He was released the following summer.
In that 2001 season, Brady replaced injured Drew Bledsoe and then guided the Patriots to their first of three titles in four seasons.
"When I was first there, (Belichick) was just a defensive guy and didn't say much about the offence," Bishop said. "He was the head coach (when Bishop was released), but personally even the conversations I had with (then offensive coordinator Charlie Weis), it was something out of their control.
"I don't think it was a decision (Weis and Belichick) made. It came from a player personnel guy or something like that."
After a year in NFL Europe, Bishop was signed by the Argos in 2002 where he has played, with varying regularity, ever since. Five seasons into his tenure here, he has finally been anointed as the franchise quarterback.
When the Argos flight leaves for B.C. today it will be minus receivers Arland Bruce and Tony Miles who are at least a week away from returning.