FOXBORO, Mass. — Who was to blame for the pregame brouhaha that broke out before Sunday’s New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game?
Patriots fans might say Bills safety Robert Blanton, who initiated the scrap by shoving New England rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Blanton, however, said disrespect on the part of Brissett and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, another Patriots rookie, was the reason behind the heated exchange.
“We were out there doing our normal game routine warming up as (defensive backs), and a couple of Patriots guys ran through our DB drill,” Blanton said, via WEEI.com, after the game, which the Bills won 16-0 at Gillette Stadium. “And I told them, ‘Hey, don’t run through our DB drill on the sideline. It’s disrespectful, and you can get somebody hurt because the DBs were backpedaling and stuff.’ And they decide to run through our DB drill again.
“I just went over there and told them to run on their side and don’t run through our DB drill.”
Blanton was sure to note Brissett and Mitchell ran through Buffalo’s defensive drills rather than around them, and that they did so twice.
“They were literally in the middle of our DB drills,” Blanton said. “They were on the field like on the numbers in the middle of our DB drills. I don’t know what they do every game because I don’t play for the Patriots, but I know no other team has ever done that. …
“I think it’s dangerous for teams being disrespectful. The field is divided for teams to warm up on, so to come and run through it, and we say, ‘Hey, can you not run through our drill? It’s disrespectful. You can get somebody hurt.’ And then to come back and do it again, I think that is pretty disrespectful by the Patriots. So, I guess you should ask them if they would do that again after being asked not to.”
Mitchell, who jumped to Brissett’s defense after Blanton’s initial shove, did not want to discuss the scuffle after the game, saying only that he did what he believed was right in the moment.
“At the time, I did what I thought was best,” the young wideout said. “Am I right or wrong? I don’t know. I just did what I thought was best at that particular time.”
Asked whether he would respond similarly in the future, Mitchell responded: “Let’s just hope we’re not in that situation again.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images