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

Ex-Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger crashed into ‘church car’ 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 for a meeting.

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

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

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

“You don’t want to be the guy who walks into a team meeting and has Bill Belichick and the rest of the team look at you,” he told “Hartman and the Rich O Show.

“I see a church van in front of me that’s completely wrecked and it’s got this black smoke coming out of the tailpipe. I’m just like, ‘I’m going to hit this car.’ I’m going to rear end this car,” Ohrnberger said, trying to hold back a laugh. “I’m going to rear end this car, because it’s better to pay the insurance or, say, rip this guy off a couple of hundred dollars than be embarrassed to be late to this Patriots team.”

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

“The worst is if you got 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 August 11, 2011.

Rich Ohrnberger of the New England Patriots competes during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on August 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 indeed ended up in a minor wreck. He added that he later found out that someone checked his car in the parking lot.

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

“And I can go to hell,” he joked.

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

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