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Patriots cornerback Jack Jones addresses speculation about his rookie year suspension

A fourth-round draft pick a year ago, Jones missed time during his rookie season because of a team suspension.

New England Patriots v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones missed the final four games of his rookie season, partly due to a knee injury and partly because of a team suspension. On Thursday, more than five months after the fact, the 25-year-old publicly addressed the speculation surrounding the incident for the first time.

To wind back, Jones is believed to have shown some tardiness in his recovery process from a knee injury suffered in Week 14 versus the Arizona Cardinals. Shortly after what was effectively a two-week suspension was first announced by the club, however, the rumor mill started to work.

One such rumor — expressed by NBC Sports contributor Albert Breer — mentioned that Jones had apparently talked back to head coach Bill Belichick. That supposed report has made its way to the player in question as well, prompting a response on social media.

“There is 100 percent a disconnect between the coaches and the locker room right now,” Breer said on Sports Sunday on January 8. “The Jack Jones thing, my understanding of the way that went, he was late to rehab sessions, he missed rehab sessions. And I think he even talked back to Bill a little bit about it, to the point where Bill felt like he had to address it in a team meeting two Fridays ago.”

On Thursday, Jones denied that he “mouthed off at Bill” which led to some commenters identifying Breer as the source of the unflattering statement. This prompted a follow-up statement by the defensive back in which he plead for the accurate portrayal of players in the media.

“How you portray the players to the media could help or hurt our career,” Jones wrote.

Coming off a tumultuous college career, Jones remained on the board until the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Patriots scooped him up 121st overall, and he quickly carved out a role as the team’s No. 3 outside cornerback and rotational starter.

Before the aforementioned knee injury, he saw action in 13 games and registered a a pair of interceptions — including one returned for a touchdown — as well as one forced fumble and one recovery. Jones is entering into his sophomore campaign with the Patriots as a realistic candidate to earn a starting role in the New England secondary.

“He’s still working his way back in there,” Bill Belichick said about Jones during a recent press conference. “It’s good to see him out there. We’ll see how that goes.”