Thomas, who was traded by the Patriots to the New York Jets after he was cut and re-signed early this season, told the New York Daily News this week that he felt disrespected by the treatment. Since Bill Belichick makes all the Patriots’ personnel decisions, that’s a message to New England’s coach.
Belichick seemed surprised that Thomas was upset.
Bill Belichick says he was honest with Demaryius Thomas
On Thursday, Belichick replied to Thomas’ statements during a news conference. He said he thought he had been honest with Thomas at each step.
“Look, Demaryius is a great kid. I have a ton of respect for him, very professional and did everything we asked him to do,” Belichick said Thursday, via NESN. “Our circumstances changed a couple times in that period leading up to when he was traded. I felt like I was truthful with him but things changed and therefore what I said was not the same as what it was — what I’d said previously. It is what it is.”
It’s easy to follow that path. Thomas was needed, and then the Patriots added Antonio Brown after he was suddenly cut by the Oakland Raiders at the end of the preseason. With Brown aboard, Thomas wasn’t going to get enough playing time. At that moment, it seemed like Belichick was doing Thomas a favor sending him to a team that needed him, even if it was a divisional rival.
“Coach [Belichick] came up to me and was like, ‘Uh, we got too many guys. We can’t get the ball around enough and we’re going to trade you to the Jets,’” Thomas told the Daily News. “And that was that…. Ain’t no reason to yell. They’ve won championships without me. I was only trying to be a part of something that was going to be good when I was there… They’re doing a hell of a job.”
The NFL isn’t a friendly business all the time, but it is a business.
Jets play Patriots on Monday
It’s understandable why Thomas was miffed. He thought it was a “waste of time” to come back to New England, when he could have signed with the Jets after initially being cut.
Though Belichick is never a sympathetic figure to most fans, it’s easy to see where he’s coming from. The Patriots needed Thomas, then didn’t once they had a chance to get Brown, a future Hall-of-Fame talent. Brown obviously didn’t work out, and was cut after just one game, but Belichick didn’t know that at the time he traded Thomas (though, given Brown’s behavior the past year, maybe he should have known).
This kind of thing happens in the NFL. At least it adds some intrigue to the Jets-Patriots game on Monday night.
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