Published On: Sat, Aug 6th, 2022

Ex-Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger crashed into ‘church van’ to avoid being cut as a rookie


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Former New England Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger overslept during his rookie season in 2009 and was late to a meeting.

But that’s not what he told the Pats. Instead, out of fear he’d be cut by notoriously strict head coach Bill Belichick, he purposely got into a car accident, in order to have a better excuse.

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New England Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger points during an NFL game against the New York Jets in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Nov. 22, 2009.

New England Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger points during an NFL game against the New York Jets in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Nov. 22, 2009.
(Damian Strohmeyer /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

“You don’t want to be the guy that’s wandering into a squad team meeting and have Bill Belichick and the rest of the team look at you,” he told the “Hartman and Rich O Show.

“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. I’m just like, ‘I’m gonna hit this car. I’m gonna rear end this car,'” Ohrnberger said, attempting to hold back laughter. “I’m going to hit this car, because it’s better to pay the insurance or, like, peel off this guy a couple hundred bucks than embarrass myself being late for this Patriots team meeting.”

Ohrnberger said the driver of the van was “like, minutes from being 100 years old,” and then it started pouring rain on both of them. 

“The worst thing is if you caught pneumonia after I rear-ended your car,” he said.

Rich Ohrnberger of the New England Patriots competes during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11, 2011.

Rich Ohrnberger of the New England Patriots competes during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11, 2011.
(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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While Ohrnberger didn’t hit the van hard, he said it was enough to give the Patriots “visual evidence” that he had actually gotten into a slight wreck. He added he later found out that someone did check his car in the parking lot. 

However, Belichick’s assistant was still “pissed” that he was late.

“And I might be going to hell,” he joked.

Rich Ohrnberger of the New England Patriots poses for his 2010 NFL headshot.

Rich Ohrnberger of the New England Patriots poses for his 2010 NFL headshot.
(NFL via Getty Images)

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Ohrnberger was not cut, but only played in five games with the Pats over a two-year span. He played in 13 games with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012, and then 24 games with the then-San Diego Chargers in 2013 and 2014 before retiring.





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