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The New England Patriots are one win away from the NFL playoffs. It will be no easy task, but if they beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the team will make the postseason after a 1-3 start. Bill Belichick will have to pull everything he has out of his bag of tricks to win this game, and it will be even harder to get the W without two key players. On Friday, the Patriots quietly moved two players — rookie cornerback Jack Jones and punter Jake Bailey from the injured reserve list to the reserve/suspended list. And after these surprising Jack Jones-Jake Bailey suspensions came down, both Jones’ and Bailey’s agents came out with intriguing statements on behalf of their suspended clients.

The Jack Jones, Jake Bailey injuries

New England Patriots suspension, Jack Jones Jake Bailey suspensions
(L-R) Jake Bailey, Jack Jones | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images; Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Patriots rookie CB Jack Jones slipped to the fourth round in the 2022 NFL Draft due to off-the-field issues (more on that below) but excelled in the NFL early on. The cover man looked like a shutdown corner through 13 games, making two interceptions and returning one for a touchdown.

In Week 14, Jones hurt his knee against the Arizona Cardinals, and the team placed him on IR, ending his regular season.

Punter Jake Bailey was a fifth-round selection of the Pats in 2019 and has been the team’s starting punter ever since. In Week 9 of the 2022 season, Bailey suffered a back injury and hasn’t played since.

The surprise Patriots suspensions that came down ahead of Week 18 are related to these injuries.

Pro Football Talk reports that Bailey’s suspension “due, in part, to differing viewpoints on if Bailey was ready to return to game action.” For Jones, it’s “related to Jones being fined for the team for missing rehabilitation appointments.”

After the Jack Jones-Jake Bailey suspensions came down, their agents both issued statements.

Jack Jones and Jake Bailey’s agents issued statements after Patriots suspensions

After the Jack Jones-Jake Bailey suspensions came out, the two players’ agents offered statements with different tones.

Jones’ agent, Jamal Tooson, said, via Mike Garafolo on Twitter, “I’m aware of the situation involving my client Jack Jones. Jack is focused on recovering and getting back to help the Patriots as soon as possible. Regarding the suspension, it appears to be based on miscommunication regarding Jack’s rehab process. I’m hopeful we’ll reach an amicable resolution for both Jack and the Patriots.”

While that statement was relatively conciliatory, Bailey’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, brought a different energy. He said, via Mike Reiss on Twitter, “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.”

These Patriots suspensions and subsequent response are worrisome both on and off the field.

If the Pats do make the playoffs, not having Jones at CB is a big blow to the team. Going to war with your punter over whether or not he should be back already from injury is a major distraction off the field.

Neither is good for Bill Belichick and company ahead of their do-or-die Week 18 matchup.

The Patriots rookie CB has tons of talent, troubles

There is no doubt Jack Jones was a first-round talent coming out of college. However, the fact he went to three different colleges on his way to the NFL was a red flag.

Jones was a five-star recruit out of Long Beach Polytechnic in Southern California and committed to USC in 2016. He played two seasons for the Trojans before the team dismissed him for poor grades.

Shortly after leaving USC, Jones was arrested alongside two high school teammates for breaking into a Panda Express restaurant in Santa Paula, per the Los Angeles Times. He ultimately pled guilty to commercial burglary and served 45 days of house arrest.

On the field, Jones played at Moorpark Junior College in 2018 before getting his grades up and transferring to Arizona State for the next three seasons.

The off-field issues made Jones slip in the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Patriots scooped him up at No. 121.

Now the Patriots suspensions of Jones and Bailey raise questions about the promising CB’s long-term future with the franchise.


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