It’s never surprising when a player takes shots at a current or former teammate without attaching his name to the quotes. It’s remarkable for a player to praise a current or former teammate while insisting on not speaking on the record.
But that’s precisely what an unnamed Patriots player has done in anonymous remarks regarding former Patriots defensive lineman Dominique Easley.
“I loved Easley, especially his work ethic,” the unnamed player told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I hope he gets a second chance. . . . He’s a great [guy] and teammate in my eyes.”
Howe describes the unnamed player as one of the team’s “most prominent leaders.” So why can’t that prominent leader put his name on the remarks?
To understand that is to understand the Patriots. Good, bad, or neutral, players typically don’t say much of anything beyond the standard, predictable, formulaic (and ultimately worthless) stuff. Anything beyond the narrow band of acceptable cliches stands out too much, especially when the praise is directed to a player whom the team has decided to dump, despite his 2014 first-round draft pedigree.
Some will speculate that the unnamed player is tight end Rob Gronkowski, since he is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, who began representing Easley less than a week ago. Still, it’s hard to believe Gronkowski saying something like that if he didn’t mean it, even if he (wisely) opted to say what he said with his head held as low as possible.