Patriots cut Chris Harper after costly muffed punt

AP

A muffed punt that turned the tide of the Patriots’ loss on Sunday night has cost Chris Harper his job.

Tom Curran of CSNNE.com reports that Harper was cut today.

The Patriots appeared to be in total control of the game early in the fourth quarter on Sunday night: They had a 21-7 lead and had just forced the Broncos to punt. But Harper muffed the punt, the Broncos recovered, and four plays later they scored a touchdown. Denver went on to win the game in overtime.

An undrafted rookie receiver from Cal, Harper had played only sparingly this season. Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t particularly tolerant of fumbling even among good players, and among marginal players, a fumble is an easy way to lose your job in New England. Harper found that out the hard way today.

122 responses to “Patriots cut Chris Harper after costly muffed punt

  1. You’ll never hear this confirmed, but I’m guessing that he was expressly instructed to either fair catch the punt or get away from it entirely. Hard to imagine that he wasn’t told that given the game situation, the weather, and his level of experience. If you’re going to ignore instructions, you better make a big play.

  2. The muffed punt was payback for the DEN/NE game a couple of years ago where the Broncos player accidentally ran into the bouncing punt with only 3 minutes left in OT just as the Broncos were setting up for one last chance to end the game.

  3. Depressing thought he looked okay I was really hoping he would step up but this must be a good sign that amendola is looking great or someone is about to step up

  4. crush22 says:
    Nov 30, 2015 5:45 PM

    Soft team that acts like soccer players when they get minor injuries.
    —————————

    That’s better than fabricating injuries for a geriatric quarterback. They even let him lounge in the locker room during a game.

  5. Or maybe the Patriots planned all along to cut him and a day later re-sign him to the practice squad, after Amendola was available.

    Amendola is now available, and they may need the roster spot for something else (another TE? Fauria?)

  6. Haters spew their drivel but the facts are the Refs were in the Bronco tank for that game.

    Elway, Goodell and the zebras conspired to take down the NE.
    They are going to make sure to invent new penalties wherever they can for Gronk. What a joke of a league.

    Spew away haters, but you all know it’s true.

  7. He was put on waivers. Will be returning to the practice roster if not claimed.

    Which is where he would have been if the Patriots weren’t as desperate for bodies on the roster.

  8. That’s why Belichick is the best. He doesn’t fool around. If you don’t do it his way, you’re gone.

  9. theandy59 says:
    Nov 30, 2015 5:44 PM

    You’ll never hear this confirmed, but I’m guessing that he was expressly instructed to either fair catch the punt or get away from it entirely.
    ————————————————————-
    As soon as I saw the kid back there I had a sick feeling. That’s no job for a rookie whose had no playing time.

  10. This has more to do with Amendola being healthy, but the gaffe was a big deal too and didnt help.

  11. NE is a great team. But to think the refs were biased against NE is shortsighted. After watching last weeks game and NE being allowed to interfere with most passes thrown because of playing at home. Boston fans, get real. Kraft owns the refs when in Foxboro.

  12. Can’t blame them. It was 21-7 pats in the fourth then Harper muffs the punt and puts the broncos In good field position ruining the pats momentum. People really seem to underlook this play and blame the refs for us losing, but this play was a huge game changer.

  13. It’s questionable coaching to allow someone to field a punt in that weather. I noticed Denver had their sure-handed WR Sanders back there. In bad weather games, when the league is monitoring PSI more closely, you actually have to coach. Denver had the better coach.

  14. buttfumbles says:
    Real classy move, scapegoating a rookie for the loss.
    _______________

    Get real. Practice squad guy getting cut after having a poor game is hardly “scapegoating a rookie for the loss” he is probably headed back to the practice squad

  15. The many people speculating that he may end up on the practice squad could be right.

    Remember, he was only promoted from the practice squad to the game day roster because Amendola was out. With Amendola reportedly set to return this week it makes sense that Harper would be the one to go.

  16. Two weeks ago I predicted this kid would make an impact as Edelman’s replacement. He made an impact all right. But as Amendola’s replacement. And it wasn’t quite the impact I had in mind. Unless he was supposed to let the kick go and his ego got the better of him, he deserves to wind up on the practice squad.

  17. The whole thing about blaming the refs, whether it was the crew at Mile High or the crew at Foxboro for the Bills game, seems misplaced. Sure, the refs made bad calls in both places — but it seems like a knee jerk reaction to think the refs were actually plotting against the Pats (or the Bills in the prior game). Maybe they were just incompetent? To me, it’s like Goodell and others in the NFL offices having a knee jerk reaction to air pressure in footballs. In the end, it just seems Goodell leaped to some misguided conclusions and has now found himself somehow “protecting” the shield from his own incompetence.

  18. Harper is my hero. I missed seeing the play. But that was Hateriots watching at its finest last night..

  19. Harper is my hero. I missed seeing the play. But that was Hateriots watching at its finest last night…

  20. Harper is my hero. I missed seeing the play. But that was Hateriots watching at its finest last night….

  21. The deflated footballs thing is starting to sound really stupid mattwalshvideo. But then again what do you expect from a guy who has a screen name like that. The short bus is out front waiting to pick you up buddy.

  22. Doesn’t matter if he called a fair catch, he still has to catch it. Patriots don’t make those kind of mistakes to beat themselves at the end of games. If you do, you’re off the team. They don’t cut a guy on Monday, after a Sunday night game, to bring him back to the practice squad. They’ll sign one of the WRs they worked out last week.Via con Dios Harper. You had one minor play to make and couldn’t make it.

  23. Saw a lot of New England fans complaining about the refs today, why not complain about what Harper did, or Belechick still passing when all he had to do was run the ball a few times and make Denver use the one T.O. they had left. Him not running the ball there is what cost them the game, not the refs. New England fans need to realize, nobody wants to hear that excuse about the refs, every team has been screwed at one point or another by the refs this year. Welcome to the club, no complaining allowed.

  24. You can place that error firmly in the hands of the coaching staff more than even the player. He should never have been put in that position. A rookie off the practice squad in a huge game, inclement weather, on the road. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

    Blame the coaching staff then the kid in that order!

    The buck stops at the top Bill, that one is on you

  25. [A]ctually its a pretty clear sign that Amendola will be back this weekend. Harper will most likely end up back on the practice squad.
    ===
    He could be done if he was told not to attempt a return. Mistakes happen and can be forgiven – even by BB. Disobeying instructions is an entirely different kettle of fish.

  26. fanofpft says:
    Nov 30, 2015 6:53 PM
    Harper is my hero. I missed seeing the play. But that was Hateriots watching at its finest last night….
    _____________

    Probably half of all the comments posted here get deleted but this made the cut 3 times?

  27. It’s questionable coaching to allow someone to field a punt in that weather. I noticed Denver had their sure-handed WR Sanders back there. In bad weather games, when the league is monitoring PSI more closely, you actually have to coach. Denver had the better coach.
    ===
    Uh huh…. Who’s Denver’s third or fourth string PR? Because that’s what Harper was. It’s not coaching. It’s just injuries.

  28. at $475,000.00 a year he drops a ball that costs a game. i see no problem in firing him. think about the bank teller making $12.00 an hour whose station doesn’t balance 3 times in one week who gets fired for a total of discepancy of $10.32

  29. charliecharger says:
    Nov 30, 2015 6:17 PM
    It’s questionable coaching to allow someone to field a punt in that weather. I noticed Denver had their sure-handed WR Sanders back there. In bad weather games, when the league is monitoring PSI more closely, you actually have to coach. Denver had the better coach.
    ——
    Totally agree. NE should have had their sure handed WR Edleman back there……oh wait….I meant Amendola. Oh crap, I’m not very good at this game. Can YOU tell me who their sure handed WR is that should be fielding punts?

    Personally, I liked Bill’s follow up punt return man….no one!! Haha, classic

  30. 20 something degrees, gusty winds, snow, practice squad player, ya blame cut him…I think the coach who decided to put the kid back there should be let go….

  31. hanktofa99 says:
    Nov 30, 2015 7:29 PM
    In other news, Carolina is the best team in the NFL!!!!!!!!

    ———

    No way, they have very few offensive weapons….One and Done in playoffs. I’m not all that impressed to be honest

  32. Brady demanded the guy be left in Denver but cooler heads prevailed.

    What’s this about Brady getting into an altercation with the team’s charter jet pilot??? Brady wanted the plane to go faster and there was quite a hissy fit. You better get your animal under control.

  33. draculalambert says:
    Nov 30, 2015 7:45 PM
    hanktofa99 says:
    Nov 30, 2015 7:29 PM
    In other news, Carolina is the best team in the NFL!!!!!!!!

    ———

    No way, they have very few offensive weapons….One and Done in playoffs. I’m not all that impressed to be honest
    ___________________

    And yet you should be. NE is the only team with a better point differential and only Arizona and NE have scored more points. At the end of the day it’s not how but how many. 11-0 is impressive no matter how you cut it

  34. Kubs out-coached BB last night and Carter became the scapgoat. Kubs discovered run d was soft and rammed it down their throats. Still a very exciting game.

  35. It’s always fashionable to portray Belichick as an unforgiving taskmaster, but he doesn’t jettison promising players for one mistake. If Harper isn’t claimed by another team onto their active roster, he’ll be back on the practice squad from whence he came. If he’s claimed, it will be a promotion for him.

  36. infectorman says:
    Nov 30, 2015 5:56 PM
    Haters spew their drivel but the facts are the Refs were in the Bronco tank for that game.

    Elway, Goodell and the zebras conspired to take down the NE.
    They are going to make sure to invent new penalties wherever they can for Gronk. What a joke of a league.

    Spew away haters, but you all know it’s true.
    ========================================

    I am in total agreement. And another thing: the Tuck Rule was such a well-known and widely-used rule. In fact, anyone that claims it was pulled out in a convenient situation to bail out a Cinderella team en route to the Super Bowl is clearly just spewing nonsense.

    Patriots 4 Life!

  37. I hear people complaining about the refs. Why don’t you call judge Berman for a little help. Do you think these referees are happy about a guy getting caught cheating, and then a judge throws out the suspension? Well, God never sleeps. Just remember that.

  38. Harper will be back on the practice squad…guaranteed he will be fielding a few thousand punts until he is perfect. Character builder…

  39. Funny how the Haters get all excite that the depleted Pats lose one game on the road in overtime. It’s not going to turn out well for the Haters….

  40. nyneal says:

    That’s why Belichick is the best. He doesn’t fool around. If you don’t do it his way, you’re gone.
    ======================================

    That’s why The Deflator got fired.

  41. Tones bones:judge Berman already decided the NFL happened to be the “cheater” , guess you also missed the part when Judge Berman asked if the NFL had Any evidence & they said “NO” .
    If God never sleeps Goodell is the one who needs to remember that!

  42. truthprofessor says:
    Nov 30, 2015 5:54 PM
    Or maybe the Patriots planned all along to cut him and a day later re-sign him to the practice squad, after Amendola was available.

    Amendola is now available, and they may need the roster spot for something else (another TE? Sauria?)
    =================================
    Agree 100%. He was already behind Keyshawn Martin on the food chain. Keyshawn gets his spot because Dobson is gone for season, but Keyshawn may have beaten Dobson out in any case.

  43. I am not a fan of either team, but he wS not the reason for the loss…. The officials gave the game to Denver…. Some of the worst calls I have seen all year …… I am amazed at the lack of headlines over this, the zebras stunk this game up

  44. infectorman says:
    Nov 30, 2015 5:56 PM
    Haters spew their drivel but the facts are the Refs were in the Bronco tank for that game.

    Elway, Goodell and the zebras conspired to take down the NE.
    They are going to make sure to invent new penalties wherever they can for Gronk. What a joke of a league.

    Spew away haters, but you all know it’s true.

    ***********************************************************************************

    I actually like the Pats as an organization, but the fan base has so much insufferable trash…

  45. mattwalshvideo says:
    Nov 30, 2015 6:34 PM
    Not used to handling inflated footballs.
    ———————————————————————————–
    Not true. The footballs for both teams were likely underinflated due to the 20 degree temperature.

  46. K-balls not as soft are they? But according to the Pathetics fan rocket scientists it should have been soft with all that snow around for the rook.

  47. The “rule change” that prohibits going low on a QB was not because of Brady. It was from a couple years earlier when Kimo of the Steelers blew out Carson Palmer’s knee in the playoffs. Educate yourself.

  48. abninf says:
    Nov 30, 2015 9:02 PM

    That’s why The Deflator got fired.
    ********************
    The “Deflator” is still employed by the team…

  49. abninf says:
    That’s why The Deflator got fired.
    ______________

    Except he wasn’t, he was suspended at the league’s insistence and after a federal judge de-panted the league in open court and then over turned Brady’s suspension the Patriots brought him back into the fold WITH THE LEAGUE’S PERMISSION. Hateroids never let facts stop them though so you just keep on plugging little guy

  50. abninf says:
    Nov 30, 2015 9:02 PM

    nyneal says:

    That’s why Belichick is the best. He doesn’t fool around. If you don’t do it his way, you’re gone.
    ======================================

    That’s why The Deflator got fired.
    ————————————————-
    Troy Vincent of the NFL was the one who told the Pats the 2 ballhandlers had to be “fired”. Both have since returned to work @ Gillette.

  51. “Win as a team lose as a team right Bill? Cut the whole defense that gave up the big run too. What a cheat.”

    If Harper had not muffed the punt, allowing the Broncos to get the turnover and score, the big run would not have mattered.

  52. Crush 22.

    Patriots are a soft team ? Your just a hater if was not for the ref’s and a injury riddled team the Patriots would have destroyed the Broncos. They would have if the ref’s called a fair game even talk show was blasting the officials. Only the haters didn’t see it oh. I am wrong most haters , Collingsworth who hates the Patriots was even calling the ref’s out ! Soft team ya would like to see you take a hit loser !

  53. stealthjunk says:
    Nov 30, 2015 5:44 PM

    The muffed punt was payback for the DEN/NE game a couple of years ago where the Broncos player accidentally ran into the bouncing punt with only 3 minutes left in OT just as the Broncos were setting up for one last chance to end the game.
    ————–
    that wouldn’t be wes welker, would it?

  54. Anyone remember Kyke Williams doing this in the NFCG? This how Belichik prevents that from happening to the Pats. Love how haters think that’s cheating. Way to strengthen your argument 😂😂😂
    BTW Broncos fans, quit saying the Pats lost to a backup…Peyton didn’t play, you know he’s not starting for you again. See you in January

  55. This from someone who likes the Patriots (among other teams in the NFL) – Teams are always looking for a scapegoat to take the attention away from their mistakes. Winning and losing is a TEAM effort and Harper shouldn’t have been cut for his mistake. He muffed the punt but the team was up by two touchdowns at the time and the defense should have stopped the Broncos, especially on the final winning touchdown. If anyone got cut it should have been players on the defense responsible for sloppy tackling on that final play.

  56. Did people even see the game. The Broncos player on the next kick return also fumbled. He got lucky with the bounce and recovered. Chris Harper didn’t…it’s football.

    Enjoy the win…but nobody has won or lost anything.

    For the Pats to put up 24 points on one of the top defenses of the league on the road banged up as they are is remarkable. I sure hope I’ll get to see what they can do with most guys healthy!!!

    Very sensitive people on this forum today. Their heart goes out to Chris Harper in a big way it seems. They are very worried about a practice squad player who’s released back to, most likely, the practice squad. It’s beautiful to see!!!

    A lot of softies out there.

    Must be to balance out all the tough men who celebrate and wish for players to be injured.

    Then again they are probably one and the same…the common denominator is hatred for the Super Bowl Champions!!!

    Super Bowl Champions (*)

    There I put the * so you all can hug your teddy bears at night more confortably!!!

  57. In the game vs. Denver in 2013, Ridley and Blount both fumbled early and were promptly benched for the rest of the game. Ball control matters.

  58. I blame the refs for him getting cut. And for not tackling CJ Anderson on a toss play. And for the Patriots DB’s getting blowtorched on the go ahead TD in regulation. And I blame the refs for not getting a first down in overtime. I blame the refs for not tackling CJ Anderson AGAIN!

  59. abninf says:
    Nov 30, 2015 9:02 PM
    nyneal says:

    That’s why Belichick is the best. He doesn’t fool around. If you don’t do it his way, you’re gone.
    ======================================

    That’s why The Deflator got fired.
    ______________

    Except he wasn’t, he was suspended at the league’s insistence and after a federal judge de-panted the league in open court and then over turned Brady’s suspension the Patriots brought him back into the fold WITH THE LEAGUE’S PERMISSION. Hateroids never let facts stop them though so you just keep on plugging little guy

  60. It was the ref”s fault, no the rook’s fault, no it was a dirty play, no New York is to blame…bunch of cry babies…led by biggest cry baby of them all Tommy “hissy fit” Brady

  61. Just another example of a practice player trying to do too much to impress to be on the roster. He’s obviously already thinking of running the ball before even catching it. Heck, he could even signal fair catch and he could probably live another day but hell no! It wasn’t only the muffed punt that cost him his job but because of that they lost. In BB’s ‘Do Your Job’ mantra, a lost caused by a player’s miscue is all that is needed for that player to be shown the door.

  62. I’m no Pats fan, but no way in hell does Denver beat them again. They caught as many breaks as a team can catch, and STILL took them to OT to beat that skeleton crew NE rolled out.

    Assuming they get their weapons back, Denver will get steamrolled be it in Foxboro or Mile High.

  63. Pats coach is an a-hole and we all know it but he wins and that gives him the authority to do whatever he wants period.

  64. Reminds me of the Wonder Woman, Superman, and Invisible Man joke. Joe Judge’s back-side must be sore today. If you are going to put a rookie back there who is doing spot duty, make sure he knows to fair catch the ball or get away from it. Shades of Kyle Williams in Chris Harper. Belichick holds grudges (look at poor Wes Welker). I suspect Harper won’t even make the practice squad even if he clears waivers. And Joe Judge will be looking for a new job next year.

  65. Wow way to stand by your players.
    Lets see the Master Cheat try catching in the wet snow.
    Ya it was his job, but Denver ‘s return guy also muffed a punt. Denver was just more alert or actually luckier.
    Its pretty sad Belly-Boy made him the scrap goat rather taking responsibility as the coach..

  66. Next punt they put nobody back for it. I wish Bill would have thought of that earlier. He’s definitely second guessing himself over that one.

  67. Hes going back to the practice squad.
    The best team at scapegoating players is the Packers and Arron regularly throws teamates under the bus.
    Just last week Devonte Adams is the patsy for Rodgers poor play. And Bostick in the loss to Seattle last year come to mind.

  68. tonebones says:
    Nov 30, 2015 8:36 PM

    I hear people complaining about the refs. Why don’t you call judge Berman for a little help. Do you think these referees are happy about a guy getting caught cheating, and then a judge throws out the suspension? Well, God never sleeps. Just remember that
    ———–
    if that’s true you’re in big trouble.

  69. is it me or do the Pats fans have the worst sportsmanship of all time..

    cant we say..hey nice game…you guys beat us today..we will see ya next time..

    nope..

    it was…the refs, we got hurt players, etc etc..

    take the loss like a champ and move on.

  70. Belichick is a sore loser..did you see the press conference after the game..Maybe all the Pats injuries is a little KARMA coming back for all the cheating they’ve done!!!!!

  71. So many Pats fans making excuses.. That’s why everyone outside of New England hates you guys.. A bunch of whiners and King Baby himself, Tom Brady.. Wah!!!!!

  72. Belichick looked like a scorned child at the post game press conference..they should have let him stand there with his smug pouty face and asked him only one question…Who’s your DADDY now bill…lol

  73. They probably don’t have enough tissues in Foxboro for Belichick and Brady right now…neither have any class what so ever! Really sad!!

  74. neilpountney says:
    Nov 30, 2015 7:06 PM
    You can place that error firmly in the hands of the coaching staff more than even the player.
    _________________________________

    Yep. Chung, Bolden, even Blunt since all they needed to do was field a free catch. All have received kicks before, none would have been overwhelmed by the situation or weather.

    For a guy who once coached Special teams, and emphasis it as much as Bill, I didn’t understand the reasoning there. The only thing that makes since is he wasn’t willing to risk an injury to necessary player. But that also runs against BB philosophy, Football Players Play Football and no man is more important than another.
    SMH

  75. I think Chung had already received a punt, but maybe since the defense had been logging so many plays they decided to rest him. Harper was probably coached to leave the ball alone or fair catch it if everything looked good. He did neither. Not sure what happened there. Cost them the game.

  76. Ignorance is not a substitute for many of the comments. No team has been more successful than the patriots. Spygate and deflate gate were the NFL’s tax on a team that because they have the best coach and quarterback have dominated a league where owners were promised parity under the salary cap. Denver was good in the 90’s and so was Guns and Roses. since then, not so much.

    Patriots are the premier organization in American professional sports.

  77. Pats fans can complain their injuries all they want..the fact is their Defense was torched for 30 points by a QB starting his second game…Thumbs up for Brock Oswiler he’s going to be a good one!!!

  78. Unchained81 says:
    Best coach ever. Dude had one shot and blew it. See ya!!

    _____________________________________

    Don’t complain about not having weapons (“Brady doing more with less”). You either appreciate BB method of managing players (in which case you trust the roster judgment) – or he sucks at it. Fickle NE fans love playing The “woa-is-me we have no receivers” card even when they’re all healthy. Can’t have it both ways.

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