Consider this the rumor that just won't die: Bill Belichick walking away from an increasingly rocky situation in New England and returning to save the Giants, his first true love.
It's an intriguing scenario. And the Giants surely wouldn't say no if the greatest coach of this generation wanted to return home. In many ways, it would be a dream outcome.
But alas, it's just a dream.
Nothing can ever be ruled out, especially when it comes to the Patriots, but there is no indication at all that a Belichick-Giants reunion is in the works, or even possible. Though the idea has kicked around the NFL rumorville for months, it's mostly born from speculation about the current situation up in Foxboro.
Up there, quarterback Tom Brady will become a free agent in mid-March if -- if -- he and the Patriots don't reach an agreement on a contract extension before then. He technically has two years left on his contract, but those years void if an agreement isn't reached by March 18.
There have been rumors and reports all year about Brady's future intentions and the possibility that he may want to continue his career someplace else. And that has led to speculation that Belichick will look elsewhere, too, though no one outside of he and Patriots owner Robert Kraft seem to know if Belichick's contract is expiring or if he has any way out of it if he wants to leave.
That mystery has created a cottage industry of guessing the 67-year-old Belichick's intentions, and it's easy to connect the dots straight down I-95 to East Rutherford, N.J. Belichick has always spoken in glowing terms about his love for the Giants organization and how much he enjoyed his many years there as an assistant (1979-90). Ask any of his former players and they'd tell you Belichick would love the idea of returning someday to claim the job he always wanted to have.
Would the Giants say no if he called? Probably not. Would they be willing to give him the total control he'd probably need to return home? Maybe they would. But they are currently clearly focused on realistic candidates, like Baylor coach Matt Rhule, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and … wait for it … Belichick's top assistant, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
It's hard to see McDaniels accepting an interview for a job that his boss wanted. He'd also likely stay in New England to be Belichick's successor if there was any indication Belichick was planning to leave.
So it's a nice dream, but that's really all this seems to be.