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Punter Jake Bailey files grievance against Patriots over his suspension

Related: Patriots move Jake Bailey, Jack Jones from injured reserve to suspended list

NFL: SEP 25 Ravens at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots sent punter Jake Bailey from injured reserve to the reserve/suspended list, dating back to Dec. 31. The reason for the move is lost on him, at least according to his agent.

Doug Hendrickson released a statement on Saturday, claiming that his client is dealing with an “unknown suspension.” Additionally, a grievance against the Patriots has been filed:

While Jake Bailey was on IR, he never missed a single treatment, meeting or practice. He was hoping to come off IR to play last weekend, but Jake was informed he was being suspended these last two games. This comes as a surprise given his full participation during injury reserve. We have filed a grievance to fight this unknown suspension

The grievance is the latest chapter in what has been a turbulent season for Bailey.

A fifth-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2019, he signed what was effectively a four-year, $13.5 million contract extension in August. The team showed confidence in Bailey’s ability to return to the All-Pro form he displayed in 2020, but he has struggled since.

With one week left in the regular season, Bailey has averaged just 42.1 yards per punt with a net of 35.2. He ranks 34th and 35th in the NFL in those categories, respectively. Bailey was eventually sent to injured reserve on Nov. 19 because of a back injury.

He was designated to return from IR on Dec. 21 and was a regular participant in practice over the next two weeks. However, he was suspiciously absent this week, with head coach Bill Belichick since claiming that he would be “ineligible” to return this season and that his “time period expired.”

According to a report by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the suspension is in part due to “differing viewpoints on if Bailey was ready to return to game action.”

From a Patriots perspective, Bailey’s suspension as well as the one of cornerback Jack Jones means that they will not be paid a salary this week. Additionally, Bailey’s salary contracts for the 2023 season have been voided, giving the team more flexibility to move on from the 25-year-old.