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Belichick says letter to Trump not politically motivated (1:48)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick opens up about his letter to President-elect Donald Trump and says his comments in it were not politically motivated. (1:48)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick clarified his relationship with President-elect Donald Trump during a news conference Wednesday before launching into a rapid-fire series of one-word answers as he sought to move the conversation from politics to this weekend’s game with the Seattle Seahawks.

After opening his news conference with a two-minute homage to the Seahawks, saying “there’s no team or organization that I have more respect for,” he addressed Trump, who read a letter from Belichick at a campaign rally on election eve Monday in New Hampshire.

“I’ve received a number of inquiries relative to a note that I wrote Donald on Monday,” Belichick said. “Our friendship goes back many years.”

He continued: “I think anybody that has spent more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated; the friendship and loyalty to Donald. A couple of weeks ago, we had Secretary of State [John] Kerry in our locker room [after a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers]. He’s another friend of mine. I can’t imagine two people with more different political views than those two. But to me, friendship and loyalty is just about that. It’s not about political or religious views.

“I write hundreds of letters and notes every month,” Belichick said. “It doesn’t mean I agree with every single thing that every person thinks about politics or religion or other subjects. But I have multiple friendships that are important to me and that’s what that was about. So it’s not about politics. It’s about football. We have a huge game this week against a great football team, a great organization, and that’s where it all is going forward. On to Seattle.”

A reporter than asked Belichick whether he was “happy or annoyed that Trump read the letter.”

“Seattle,” Belichick said.

He was then asked about keeping distractions away, and “given the nature of this presidential race …”

“Seattle,” Belichick said.

The reporter then said “did you find it …”

“Seattle. Seattle,” Belichick said, interrupting the reporter.

The reporter went on. “Helpful,” he said.

“Seattle,” Belichick said.

The reporter then asked if the coach has talked to his players about it, or if they had discussed it with him.

“Seattle,” Belichick said.

The reporter persisted, asking if he had any concerns about “locker-room rancor as a result of this.”

Belichick paused for a long time, then said: “Good?”

At that point, the discussion shifted to the Seahawks.