Less than a year after tearing his Achilles, veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has established himself with the Jets this year, though that was never his plan entering this season. He thought he was going to be a Patriot, and after a strange offseason, he’s not very happy with Bill Belichick and his team.
Thomas signed with New England in April after being cut by Houston in February. He looked great in preseason, and while the Patriots cut him days later, they did so with the intention of re-adding him to the roster. They signed him to a one-year deal two days after cutting him, but once Antonio Brown suddenly became available, Belichick swiftly traded him within the division to clear a roster spot.
Thomas spoke to the New York Daily News ahead of his team’s Monday night game against New England, and though he expressed gratitude that Josh McDaniels and the Patriots took him in while he was rehabbing his torn Achilles, he also said he felt disrespected and insulted by being jerked around “like I’m just a rookie.” Thomas said McDaniels and other team personnel told him, “You’re going to be okay,” a promise which evaporated when Brown became available:
“It was insulting, for sure. [...] Once I got cut (on August 31), I could have just come here (to the Jets) and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone. So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me.”
He acknowledged that the Patriots do not need him in order to win this year, and he praised them for doing a “hell of a job” this season. His problem is not that he got shipped out, he simply took issue with the dishonesty. Belichick praised Thomas’s professionalism, and acknowledged that Brown’s unexpected availability meant he had to go back on his word. “I felt like I was always truthful with him,” he said, “but things change, and therefore, what I said was not the same as what I’d said previously. It is what it is.”
That’s very honest from Belichick. Let us hope Thomas rewards his former coach’s honesty by going off on Monday.