FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Let Jimmy Johnson have “Survivor: Nicaragua.” His buddy Bill Belichick prefers to compete in Foxborough against his foes.

Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, said he admired Johnson for giving up the comforts of home for the deprivations of his stay in Central America as one of 20 castaways on the CBS reality show.

“That’s quite a contrast from the environment that I usually see him in,” Belichick said Wednesday before leading his team in a joint practice with the New Orleans Saints, the Patriots’ opponent tonight in an exhibition at Gillette Stadium. “I don’t think I could handle that.”

Belichick has known Johnson, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, for decades. They’ve fished together and exchanged thoughts on coaching. They also faced each other in Belichick’s first game as a head coach on Sept. 1, 1991, Dallas’ 26-14 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Johnson left the NFL after the 1999 season, his fourth with the Dolphins, and is now a football commentator on Fox. Belichick took over the Patriots in 2000.

“The times that I’ve seen Jimmy most recently (were) either in this (football) environment or on a boat fishing or relaxing on a nice day down in the (Florida) Keys, having a good time,” Belichick said.

The conditions were much tougher in the television series, a competition that lasted for about a month this summer. It begins airing on Sept. 15.

“I hear it’s pretty rough on ‘Survivor,’” Belichick said. “Everybody takes some mosquito bites.”

Johnson, 67, had been trying for years to get on the show.

He said he first applied six or seven years ago but wasn’t chosen. In 2007, he tried again but was eliminated when doctors found heart problems. Soon after, he had an operation and eventually was accepted.

As head coach at the University of Miami, he won one national championship in his stint from 1984 through 1988. In 1989, he took over the Cowboys, coming off a 3-13 season, and went 1-15. Then Johnson’s rebuilding program took hold and they went 7-9, 11-5, 13-3 and 12-4 in his last four seasons there, winning the Super Bowl in the last two.

“I have so much respect for what he’s done,” Belichick said. “At the time he did it, he really kind of was one of the first guys to do things the way he did it and build a team from scratch with the responsibility he had and all of that.”

Johnson never got past the second round of the playoffs in his four years with the Dolphins, but had an impact on Belichick earlier.

“Jimmy has really been helpful to me personally, just being able to talk with somebody who has sat in pretty much the same situations that you’ve been in,” he said. “We actually had a number of interactions between the two of us while I was in Cleveland and he was in Dallas and also in Miami (when) he was there. Just talking about different things.”

Belichick is 58, nearly 10 years younger than Johnson. But he’d prefer to stick to football in Foxborough and let others suffer in more exotic locales.

“Jimmy is a great guy. We’ve had a great relationship,” Belichick said. “But seeing him out in that environment, I give him a lot of credit. My hat is off to him.”

SAINTS RUNNING back Reggie Bush returned to practice after missing one session with cramps.

No. 3 running back Lynell Hamilton had to be helped off the field after injuring his right knee during the joint practice against the Patriots.

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said Hamilton, who had been effective on special teams and in short-yardage situations, has a torn ACL, an injury that usually requires a year to recover from.

“It was something that was kind of a freak deal,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said.

Hamilton, who turned 25 last week, crumpled to the turf midway through Wednesday morning’s practice. Trainers rushed out to attend to him, and a few minutes later he limped off the field with a trainer under each arm.