Former teammate: Injuries and locker room cancer led to Dominique Easley release

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The Patriots released defensive tackle Dominique Easley on Wednesday, ending his run with the team less than two full years after he was selected in the first round of the 2014 draft.

Easley’s two seasons with the Patriots saw him perform solidly when he was on the field, although he wasn’t on the field as often as the team would have liked. He missed 10 games over the last two years with a variety of injuries, although one of Easley’s former teammates in New England told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that health wasn’t the only reason he was unsurprised by Wednesday’s news.

“Saw that coming,” Easley’s unnamed former teammate said. “Injuries and locker room cancer.”

Easley reportedly butted heads with the Patriots over how to rehab his injuries and Volin spoke to other league sources who advanced the narrative of Easley upsetting people off the field. One source called Easley “disrespectful and irresponsible” and he faces a lawsuit from a friend who says Easley’s dog attacked him while he was staying at Easley’s house. Per Volin, Easley is also bracing for a pair of other lawsuits.

The Patriots took a cap hit to get rid of Easley and will be on the hook for his entire salary if he doesn’t land another job, so there doesn’t appear to have been much hope in New England that things were going to get better. We’ll find out Thursday if another team is willing to make the opposite bet by claiming Easley off of waivers.

58 responses to “Former teammate: Injuries and locker room cancer led to Dominique Easley release

  1. I knew it wasnt just a injury thing. Guy looked good on the field. Belichick only cares about the team as a whole not one guy, and obviously thought Easley was hurting the team. Hes quick at admit his mistakes and it helps long term. I am sure someone will give him
    A shot tho

  2. Wouldn’t all the pre-draft investigations of these players picked up on reg flag characteristics like this? Two years ago there would’ve already been plenty of signs of aberrant behavior but like always teams see the talent and ignore the badness and get burned more often than not, and think they (coaches) can change these bad boys. “A leopard doesn’t change its spots”.

  3. I just read on yahoo he is expecting 2 other lawsuits in the near future. I remember hearing on draft day that as soon as we picked Easley the Seahawks didn’t want anyone and traded the pick to Minnesota and that made me even happier and now he is cut and I’m left wondering how 2 of the best coaches in the league didn’t see any of these issues coming.

  4. Jacobslatter,

    While that was my first thought as well, you also never know how kids change once they get money. Easley hasn’t played a full season in 3 years(missed much of junior season as well). He’s had a lot of time away from the game and people in his ear and $$ can change things.

    No idea if that truly is the case but as thorough as the Patriots are, they seemed to have blown this one.

  5. They (BB) thought he might outgrow his immaturity…but I guess he didn’t..I’m sure he will regret it one day..soon

  6. I would venture a guess that coaches look at some of this stuff as immaturity, and hope and expect that as they migrate into a professional locker room and see how seasoned successful pros comport themselves, they’ll grow up. That probably happens a lot, but you won’t see a headline saying, “Player X: Jerk in College, but He’s a Good Guy Now”.

  7. I think with regard to knowing about his negative characteristics, the “leopard doesn’t change his spots” thing, it can be controlled. No one is perfect, and most of these players have issues we as fans never know about.

    I don’t believe it is, we can change this guy if he gets in our system, it is, even with the warts we know he has, his on the field play makes it worth it. Look at Lawrence Taylor for example. If we made decisions on players because of off the field stuff, and personality stuff, LT wouldn’t have a team in todays NFL. Lets be real though, LT would have 32 teams welcoming him. So it is a production versus “warts” calculation, and when the production or “upside” is no longer out weighing those negatives, the player is gone.

    All front offices swing and miss, but few are willing to acknowledge those mistakes and move on like Belichick does. How many other coaches would cut their first round pick after 2 seasons? I’m willing to bet the answer is only Belichick. We all know the narrative will be that this is a knock on Belichick, but if the Patriots were done with Easley, didn’t they do him a favor by waiving him? They could have sat on his rights for the next 2 years out of spite, or waited til final roster cutdown, but they let him go now, which I would say shows Belichick isn’t just a surly jerk, he granted Easley his release, and he can get on a new team and pick up that system before next season.

  8. This shows the difference between the Patriots and other teams…..say the Bengals. No way BB would tolerate the antics from guys like Burfict or PacMan. If they pulled their crap in NE they would be gone. Heck, BB got rid of Browner because he got too many penalties….

  9. No team turns the page on a player better then the Patriots….with that said , I wish they held on to Hicks or Siliga knowing this was coming….Easley needed the Patriots more then they needed him……….

  10. coachhighscore says:
    Apr 14, 2016 9:39 AM
    Bill Belichick is horrible at talent evaluation. He would be just another average coach/gm if it wasn’t for Brady

    ————–
    You guys really need to get your story straight. Half the time you claim Brady is just average and benefits from BB and the Patriots’ system.

  11. Belichick does recognize and admit when his mistakes are made. Frankly that is one of his great strengths.

  12. Disappointing result from Easley.

    It’s good that Belichick can make the tough decisions though, decisions that lesser coaches might not make because they have to worry about looking bad.

  13. there is not test or questions that will determine with 100% accuracy which kids are going to “grow up” and at what rate they will grow up, especially when they become young millionaires. Didn’t happen with TO, Manziel, Leaf, or Easley. Even Brett Farve was traded to the packers from Atlanta and Chris Carter from the Eagles for similar reasons.

    Every year you are going to get a certain percent of players that fall into that category, and get cut. Sometimes, like Farve and Carter, they turn it around when stuff gets real and they get a fresh start. Some do, some don’t. You can’t rule kids lives, they have to figure it out. At one time, Easley was a really hard worker so hopefully a fresh start helps him to find the motivation to get his act together.

    If you think that you are a better judge of football player maturity and potential than Bill B, then you should quit posting snarky remarks here and get your own NFL team.

  14. ( . Y . ) says:
    Apr 14, 2016 9:36 AM

    but they let him go now, which I would say shows Belichick isn’t just a surly jerk, he granted Easley his release, and he can get on a new team and pick up that system before next season.

    ————-

    It also helps the Patriots if he has more time and opportunity to find the best contract he can.

  15. The saddest (or one of the sadder) parts of this whole thing is . . . . right when he was picked, i remember Easley went to his old high school and asked to talk to some kids. I’m not sure what he said, but it was one of those “I just got picked in the 1st round by a perennial power house . . . . if i can keep my head on straight and succeed, you guys can too!”

    It was very inspirational at the time. But i remember thinking to myself: “Dude .. . . . you know how many NFL players get drafted but don’t last in the league? You sure you don’t want to wait until you become a big star to do this sort of thing?”

    I wonder what all those kids think of him now.

  16. The patriots fans are the most blinded faith bunch of babies. When other teams cut a major player with issues, they jump on their soap box, when it’s their player , “oh BB know’s when to cut bait…blah blah blah. Fact is they’ve drafted many players with issues (just like all teams), so stop whining babies, take your medicine…yesh… yankees

  17. Who would have thought that the string of Rutgers players to NE has worked out pretty well (most aren’t high level prospects/picks or anything so not expecting great things) for the Patriots meanwhile the Florida Gators just don’t work out. Jackson. Hernandez. Cunningham. Spikes. and now Easley.

  18. piratefreedom says:
    Apr 14, 2016 9:53 AM

    ( . Y . ) says:
    Apr 14, 2016 9:36 AM

    but they let him go now, which I would say shows Belichick isn’t just a surly jerk, he granted Easley his release, and he can get on a new team and pick up that system before next season.

    ————-

    It also helps the Patriots if he has more time and opportunity to find the best contract he can.
    ========================

    He is subject to waiver claims first. If a team claims him, his contract gets picked up as is. If he clears waivers, then he can negotiate a new deal. But your point is understood.

  19. coachhighscore says:
    Apr 14, 2016 9:39 AM

    Bill Belichick is horrible at talent evaluation. He would be just another average coach/gm if it wasn’t for Brady

    ——————

    Sure… all their success has been because of one guy out of 53 that is only on the field less than half the time.

    Not a chance.

    Belichick is better at talent evaluation then nearly every other GM in the league. The proof is in the wins.

    Everyone could see that Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh were great coming in. What did they accomplish in Detroit? It’s a team sport and GMs have to build a whole team that also considers team chemistry, depth, heart, coachability, etc.

    Every GM misses, but there are more than 100 players that only Patriots fans know that contributed to all the wins that every other fan in the league has either no idea about or thinks they suck. That’s just how Patriots fans want it.

  20. crewchief15 says:
    Apr 14, 2016 10:05 AM

    The patriots fans are the most blinded faith bunch of babies. When other teams cut a major player with issues, they jump on their soap box, when it’s their player , “oh BB know’s when to cut bait…blah blah blah. Fact is they’ve drafted many players with issues (just like all teams), so stop whining babies, take your medicine…yesh… yankees

    ——————

    As long as Belichick’s decisions lead to 12-4 seasons and playoff seeds why would the fans be critical?

  21. ( . Y . ) says:
    Apr 14, 2016 9:36 AM
    They could have sat on his rights for the next 2 years out of spite, or waited til final roster cutdown, but they let him go now, which I would say shows Belichick isn’t just a surly jerk, he granted Easley his release, and he can get on a new team and pick up that system before next season.
    ______________________

    The Hoodie wasn’t doing Easley any favors. A little closer look at the timing and situation makes that clear. If you believe you aren’t going to keep a guy and want to do him a solid you release him ASAP not just before the start of OTA’s. On the other hand, once you have made the bulk of your non draft related roster moves and assessed your strengths and weaknesses you are in a better position to evaluate the risk/reward of keeping a guy around. In Easley’s case it obviously wasn’t worth having an average at best performer with a poor work ethic bringing the room down.

    No doubt cutting a 1st round pick that wasn’t buying into the system also sends a valuable message to the rest of the team and doing it at the start of OTA’s makes that message hard to miss.

  22. The Patriots team is not the place to be immature forever. He had a chance and blew it. He’s a talented player but with BB that’s nothing if a player affects the team. Nobody is bigger than the team. BB is too busy to baby sit grown men. Other teams will tolerate good players even if they have crappy attitudes. I think even Martellus Bennet will be out the door if he pulls a diva attitude.

  23. Nobody wants to talk about how there were 31 player arrests while Urban Meyer was the head coach at Florida. And for some odd reason, that never really seemed to bother Belichick and never really seemed to prevent him from drafting Meyer’s players.

  24. nfl 1st round busts- go ahead, google that, then go to the 1st result, NFL.com

    Still think the Pats don’t know what they’re doing compared to other teams? Google it any way you want, whatever disappointments NE has suffered, 31 other teams did no better, in fact most did not do as well.

    The most amazing thing I’ve noticed is that lately Buffalo fans seem to be the most vocal about NE draft choices.

    Buffalo, that’s right. A team that claims NE isn’t that good yet are owned year after year.

  25. Honest question….have ANY Urban Meyer FLA recruits panned out ?
    I mean across the league . There HAVE to be SOME…right ?

    Just from the Patriots:
    Jeremy Mincey
    Chad Jackson
    Aaron Hernandez
    Brendon spikes
    Jermaine Cunningham
    Jon Halapio
    Dominique Easley
    Tim tebow free agent

    Percy harvin
    The Pouncy boys no strangers to issues
    Riley cooper
    Joe Haden has had issues
    Carlos Dunlap issues

    Cam newton might be the cleanest of the bunch but he got away.

    All of these guys have crossed paths with urban Meyer….
    Eithe they can’t play they get hurt or they’re just bad people.
    He just seems to recruit these guys and look the other way.

    I would stay away from OSU players now.

  26. You’d think a guy who’s draft stock fell like a stone would be grateful for a team like the Pats grabbing him in the first round.

    You’d think a guy who’s ended up on IR his first two seasons would be grateful to play with the GOAT Coach/QB combo, and went to the SuperBowl in his rookie season, then AFC Championship game his next season.

    It’s almost impossible for most of posting here to understand how some of these guys, given the opportunity to play professional football for a living, can still eff up so horrifically. Most of us would give our left nut to play in the NFL and make millions doing it, yet these guys seem perfectly content to just throw it all away, for nothing.

    Mind boggling.

  27. It is simple. Easley was not working out in The Patriots system. He was a high priced player who produced mid level results. Even if he was very good when he played… He didn’t play enough. There was also a pending downside, that being that Mr Easley blew out both knees in college. In a 20 game season, a player who is only able to show up (able to play) half of the time isn’t worth top tier money. If that half time player comes with baggage and a bad attitude, then there is no good reason to keep him around. Easley may go somewhere else and thrive, and if he does; good for him. I am a Patriots fan. I wish him well, and I thank him for his time in our family.

  28. Look, I am no fan of the cheating culture that seems to be inbred up in New England but the trolls have to stop with the draft bust labels. First, the range of draft busts (according to Pro Football Focus) is about 48% up to 58%. So if the most successful teams are wrong 42% of the time, that leaves a lot of draft busts to choose from.

    Now granted busts are much lower among first round draft picks, only around 30%. That leaves plenty of first rounders that are busts so this guy is hardly the exception.

  29. Mo Pro Babble says:
    Apr 14, 2016 11:11 AM
    nfl 1st round busts- go ahead, google that, then go to the 1st result, NFL.com

    Still think the Pats don’t know what they’re doing compared to other teams? Google it any way you want, whatever disappointments NE has suffered, 31 other teams did no better, in fact most did not do as well.

    The most amazing thing I’ve noticed is that lately Buffalo fans seem to be the most vocal about NE draft choices.

    Buffalo, that’s right. A team that claims NE isn’t that good yet are owned year after year.

    —————–
    Buffalo fans always get uppity this time of year….. They quiet down almost completely by Thanksgiving when they are already all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs….

  30. One interesting sideline to this story is if Belichick originally envisioned Easley being mentored by Vince Wilfork and others in a strong locker room. If he did, that calls into question letting Vince go given Mayo’s dominating presence was also being diminished. The loss of strong leaders like Wilfolk and Mayo should not be underestimated.

  31. bullcharger says:
    Apr 14, 2016 10:26 AM
    crewchief15 says:
    Apr 14, 2016 10:05 AM

    The patriots fans are the most blinded faith bunch of babies. When other teams cut a major player with issues, they jump on their soap box, when it’s their player , “oh BB know’s when to cut bait…blah blah blah. Fact is they’ve drafted many players with issues (just like all teams), so stop whining babies, take your medicine…yesh… yankees

    ——————

    As long as Belichick’s decisions lead to 12-4 seasons and playoff seeds why would the fans be critical?
    ——–
    Bust. First round.

  32. Yup, Belichick’s only 1rst rnd bust in 15 drafts, at #29. If only he coulda drafted guys like RTannehill 8th, DJordan #3, JJames #19 and DParker #14. Guys like that don’t grow on trees.

  33. To the guy who questioned Urban Meyer recruits, Tebow was a winner in the NFL. The only reason he is not in the league is religious persecution.

  34. VenerableAxiom says:
    Apr 14, 2016 11:57 AM

    As long as Belichick’s decisions lead to 12-4 seasons and playoff seeds why would the fans be critical?
    ——–
    Bust. First round.
    ————————-

    Envy, palpable.
    It’s hard for a Fins fan to understand the kind of goodwill 15 straight winning seasons, 5 consecutive AFCCG’s and 4 SB’s has built up with Pats fans. But it is easy to understand why they struggle with the concept, after all you have to go back almost that far to get to the last time the Fins had 2 winning seasons in a row.

    Speaking of busts, how’s it going with Dion Jordan? Can’t imagine BB giving up the 12th and 42nd picks in a draft to end up drafting a guy with the 3rd pick that has as many substance abuse suspensions as quarterback sacks. But then it’s hard to imagine the Pats sucking bad enough to have a pick as high as the 12th to even include in a trade. When drafting near the bottom of the round it’s easy to justify taking a chance but missing with the #3 overall pick that’s got to hurt some.

  35. Wow. Surprised but now surprised at this . We now live in a ” me first “society , consequences be damned . Today’s youth follow the beat of their own drum, rather than listen to conventional and proven wisdom . we’ve seen stories like this increasingly over the last decade – extremely talented , yet can’t seem to get out of his own way . I can almost predict that there will be more stories like this , as coaches with their jobs on the line , grow tired of some of the nonsense that’s going on , do like Belichik , grow a pair , cut bait and move on .

  36. crewchief15 says:
    Apr 14, 2016 10:05 AM
    The patriots fans are the most blinded faith bunch of babies. When other teams cut a major player with issues, they jump on their soap box, when it’s their player , “oh BB know’s when to cut bait…blah blah blah. Fact is they’ve drafted many players with issues (just like all teams), so stop whining babies, take your medicine…yesh… yankees

    ————————

    So now your mad at new englanders for taking a negative with Grace? No one’s whining other than you

  37. I can see rolling the dice on a guy past the 3rd round… First round picks are too precious. BB and his staff need to be better at these picks.

  38. Yeh, if BB was a little better at drafting, maybe he would have 6 or 7 superbowls with the Pats instead of only 4… oh yeh, plus his other 2 with the Giants.

    Fortunately, Bill let him go yesterday, on Wednesday, and the schedule comes out today so everyone will be talking about schedules. That was a nice favor. Already this post is page 2 and it is barely lunch time.

  39. Love the hate. Haters need to decide on whether to go with “Brady is only good because of Belichick and the system” or “Belichick is only good because of Brady”
    It has become really bad. Hater fans use anything they can get but just stay with one shtick. Just stay with “They only win because they cheat”, it’s perfect for the whiny school-kid level fans of teams that lose all the time. Enjoy watching the playoffs.

  40. superpatriotsfan says:

    Without Tom Brady, Belichick as a below .500 coach.
    ——————————————————–
    Two words for you, fool:

    Matt Cassel

    Everyone knows Cassel as a bust, yet Belichick went 11-5 with that guy. Last time I checked, “below .500” in the NFL was 7-9

  41. But I thought Belichick was a genius at drafting players? Just goes to show he needs to cheat to win. Without Tom Brady, Belichick as a below .500 coach.

    __________

    You’re new to football I see. BB has more football knowledge in the baby fingernail clipping he cut off yesterday than you have in your entire body and brain over the course of your whole life.

    Do yourself a favor and study the game a little. Then you won’t make such a fool of yourself.

  42. I’ve heard former players on the radio talking about how they’ve played with HoFers who were/are lauded as great leaders and locker room guys, but in fact some of these guys were not leaders at all and were just selfish, unfriendly, “me first” people.

    The point is that this kind of behavior is probably more prevalent than we think, but the big question is whether it affects the team or not. If a team is strong enough they can overcome it – or ignore it. The “cancer in the locker room” tag probably only comes if a guy isn’t good enough on the field to make up for it, or his behavior is SO distracting that he’s just not worth it.

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