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Former Patriots Doctor in NFLPA Grievance

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The Patriots find themselves in the midst of a legal proceeding with regards to a free agent from back in 2012.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Post has an interesting article about Thomas Gill, the former Patriots team doctor who stepped down back in April of this year. It seems as if the Patriots issue with defensive tackle Jonathan Fanene, from way back in 2012, is under scrutiny and it doesn't look good.

Back in 2012, the Patriots signed defensive tackle Jonathan Fanene to bolster the defensive line. He passed team physicals, but was ultimately cut due to arthritis in his knee, which hadn't been disclosed. Fanene could have had surgery to repair his knees, but coach Bill Belichick requested that surgery be postponed to see if the team could find a way to recuperate any payments to Fanene due to non-disclosure of the injury.

The team's doctor, at the time Thomas Gill, is expected to act in the player's best interest as opposed to the team, but for this scenario he delayed surgery and, per the Post, "ultimately refused." While Gill says that he acted as he would have for any patient, it's hard to see how refusing surgery would reflect the doctor as beholden to his patients.

Of course, some might shed a negative light on Belichick for trying to push off surgery on a player, although he was clearly acting in the best interest of the team; if a player truly had an issue and didn't disclose it, asking for more time to determine a course of action isn't seedy- it's what any reasonable manager would do.

Still, the fact that Gill essentially followed the team's instruction to buy time is the main aspect that should be under scrutiny. It will be interesting to see if anything else comes from this dispute.

Gill is infamously known in Patriots circles for Rob Gronkowski's questionable healing process after the tight end broke his forearm and required four surgeries to heal.