Did Patriots Player Rat On Joe Judge? New Report Adds Context

Was it really just an NFLPA rep who flagged the Patriots?


May 26, 2023

Just when you thought the Patriots could move on from their offseason drama and focus on actual football, they start looking like a sequel to “The Departed.”

New England this week was docked a pair of organized team activity (OTA) practices — and Bill Belichick was fined $50,000 — for violating NFL offseason guidelines. Per multiple reports, special teams coach Joe Judge in early May conducted a series of “special teams workshops” that resulted in players staying at Gillette Stadium longer than the four hours permitted during Phase 2 of offseason programs. A representative for the NFLPA reportedly also believed the meetings were communicated in a way that made them seem mandatory, rather than voluntary, which they’re supposed to be.

The violation, although embarrassing and totally unnecessary, ultimately isn’t that big of a deal. On the outside, it’s an entertaining relief from what’s been a light stretch of Patriots news. Even Devin McCourty is joking about it.

But it does beg the question: Is there a rat in the building? Does Bill Belichick have to go full-Jack Nicholson and snuff out a perpetrator?

Some, like 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Scott Zolak, are convinced a Patriots player tattled on Judge. Others might believe reports that claim it truly was an NFLPA rep who observed the infraction and reported it to the league.

NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry offered context during Thursday night’s “Early Edition” episode.

“What I’ve heard is that there was a NFLPA representative who was at Gillette Stadium on one of the days during which one of these violations occurred,” Perry said. “So, May first, May second, May fourth, it was three separate occasions that these workshops occurred and players stayed longer than they were supposed to. And on one of those days, there was a PA rep who was present. And I think that’s part of the reason why this comes to be, why this punishment ends up coming out.”

If you want to read between the lines, you could connect the dots and wonder whether an NFLPA rep indeed saw something suspicious before consulting with a player, who spilled the beans. But that’s pure speculation.

However, there are even more layers to this story. As you’ll see in the video below, Perry also discussed the possibility of the NFL over-punishing the Patriots based on their history of breaking the rules.

Where this story goes from here is anyone’s guess. If a player, or multiple players, reported the Patriots to the NFL, we probably won’t learn any specifics.

Nevertheless, Belichick is scheduled to meet with reporters next Wednesday, when he surely will field multiple questions on his team’s latest controversy. After that, we finally can get back to talking about on-field performance instead of off-field gossip. Hopefully.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images
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