Bill Belichick and Jack Jones probably need to sit down for a good, long chat this offseason.
The New England Patriots last week officially suspended Jones, ending what once was a promising rookie campaign for the fourth-round cornerback. The decision reportedly was made after Jones was late to — and missed — rehab sessions for the knee injury he suffered in Week 14. The situation led Belichick to hold a team meeting, during which he used Jones as an example of what players shouldn’t do while rehabbing injuries.
But the juiciest detail on Jones’ suspension arrived Sunday night during NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage of the Patriots’ season-ending road loss to the Buffalo Bills.
“The Jack Jones thing, my understanding of how that went,” Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer began, “he was late to rehab sessions, he missed rehab sessions. And I even think he talked back to Bill a little bit about it, to the point where Bill felt like he had to address it in a team meeting two Fridays ago.”
This is yet another concerning development for a player who dealt with character concerns during last year’s draft process. It also might speak to a culture shift in New England, as what we’ve seen from Jones and Jake Bailey over the last week suggests Belichick might no longer command as much respect in the locker room as he once did.
Nevertheless, Belichick on Monday morning spoke highly of both Jones and Bailey while saying he hopes they’re back next season. The Patriots head coach refused to go into detail on both suspensions.
Both storylines will be worth monitoring in the early days of what should be a fascinating offseason in New England.