Punter Jake Bailey and cornerback Jack Jones ended their 2022 seasons on the New England Patriots’ suspension list, but they apparently still have a future with the team. That is at least what head coach Bill Belichick believes at this point in time.
Talking to reporters during his end-of-year press conference on Monday morning, Bailey and Jones were part of the conversation. While Belichick again did not go into any detail about why they have been suspended, he spoke highly of their abilities and their possible return to the Patriots.
“Those are separate matters, but both players have been contributors to the team and hopefully will be in the future,” Belichick said.
The exact reason behind the suspensions remains unclear, but according to reports they stem — as the coach pointed out — from two separate issues.
In Jones’ case, he reportedly missed some rehabilitation appointments. The fourth-round cornerback, who was in the middle of an encouraging rookie campaign, had originally suffered a knee injury in December and was placed on injured reserve because of it.
As far as Bailey is concerned, his situation appears to be a bit more complicated.
On Saturday, his agent announced that neither he nor his client would be aware of any infraction. Additionally, a grievance has been filed on behalf of the fourth-year punter who will be losing out on the upcoming salary guarantees in his contract because of the suspension.
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.” Bailey was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 19 because of a back issue, but recently returned to practice to open his 21-day return window. However, he was not reactivated and instead sent to the suspension list to end his season.
Due to the grievance, Belichick would not go into any detail on the case. However, he did share his belief that both he and Jones would eventually have a place on the team.
“I’m not going to comment on the suspension part of it. There’s been a grievance filed, and so forth. So, that will all run its course. We’ll deal with that as it comes,” Belichick said. “But, yeah, both players are talented players that have contributed to the team and I think have a future with the team. At least that’s what I feel at this point.”
Bailey and Jones both are under contract with the Patriots through the 2025 season.