Ex-Patriots lineman crashed car to avoid being released
Aug. 5 (UPI) — Former NFL offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger once purposely crashed his car when he was running late on his way to a New England Patriots practice so that he could avoid potentially being released, he said on his radio show.
Ohrnberger spoke about the incident Friday on the Hartman & Rich O Show. The six-year NFL veteran played for the Patriots from 2009 to 2011.
“My phone died overnight, and I realize I’m waking up to the sound of birds chirping and not my alarm going off,” Ohrnberger said. “I am frantic. I don’t even bother looking at the clock, I know I’m late.”
Ohrnberger said he woke up about five minutes before he was supposed to be at practice, but he needed 15 minutes to reach the team facility. The thought then crept in to his mind that coach Bill Belichick, who is known for strict guidelines for player punctuality, could decide to take him off the roster for the infraction.
“I’m gonna be 10 minutes late for this day,” Ohrnberger said. “I have this sinking feeling in my stomach like, ‘I’m gonna be cut. [Belichick’s] not gonna have me on this football team come tomorrow. What do I do?'”
He then decided to use an unconventional strategy to avoid the potential release, as he rolled down a hill in his Chevrolet Tahoe.
“I see a church van in front of me, that’s all dinged up and it’s got the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe, and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna hit this car,'” Ohrnberger said.
“Because It’s better to pay the insurance or peel off this guy a couple hundred bucks than embarrass myself by being late for a Patriots team meeting.”
Ohrnberger rear-ended the car, but said the collision wasn’t “hard.” He also said he paid off the driver of the vehicle, an “old man,” and avoided job termination. He said the only damage to his car was dented bumper.
He spoke to Belichick’s assistant when he got to the facility and waited in the offensive lineman room while the Patriots held a team meeting. He said he later found out that a Patriots staffer went to the parking lot to check his car for damage.
Ohrnberger, 36, entered the league as a fourth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He appeared in five games over his first seasons with the Patriots. He was waived before final cuts in 2010, but was signed to the practice squad and later promoted to the active roster. He spent the 2011 season on injured reserve.
He also spent time with the Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers during his NFL tenure.