Thomas upset at being sent home by Belichick

Adalius Thomas wasted no time defending himself after coach Bill

Belichick sent him home for being late to a team meeting.

The New England Patriots linebacker said after returning

Thursday that he was “dumbfounded” and “can’t figure out what

Bill thinks or knows.”

Three other players were sent away for showing up late on

Wednesday – wide receiver Randy Moss and linebackers Gary Guyton

and Derrick Burgess. All four were at practice on Thursday, but the

other three declined to speak with reporters.

Thomas, a starter in nine games this year, called ahead on a

snowy Wednesday morning, as players are instructed to do when

they’re going to be late, he said. Traffic was tied up and he

nearly got into an accident, he said. But when he showed up about

nine minutes late for an 8 a.m. team meeting, Belichick told him to


That surprised him.

“You’re told to call and you call, you get sent home,” Thomas


“That’s not an excuse,” he said, but “I could have been in

the ditch. They really don’t give a damn, honestly. As long as you

ain’t in the meeting they really don’t give a (expletive).”

The situation arose at a critical time for the Patriots (7-5)

and could be a distraction heading into Sunday’s game in Foxborough

against the Carolina Panthers (5-7). New England’s AFC East lead is

down to one game after losses in three of the last four games.

“Your focus should be on Carolina, but instead it’s on this

whole topic of being late,” Thomas said.

Patriots players rarely question Belichick publicly, often

echoing his bland comments about their performances and upcoming

opponents. But this isn’t the first time Thomas has been upset.

Belichick didn’t activate him for a 59-0 win over the Tennessee

Titans on Oct. 18 even though he was healthy.

When asked three days after that game why he was benched, Thomas

said, “Ask Bill. He has all the answers.”

Thomas, 32, is in the third year of a five-year contract that he

signed after becoming a free agent following seven seasons with the

Baltimore Ravens in which he had 38 1/2 sacks. He had 11 1/2 sacks

the past two years but has been inconsistent this year with 27

tackles and three sacks.

Belichick said at the time he activates players who he feels

give the Patriots the best chance to win. The Titans were 0-6 after

that loss. Thomas has had two sacks since then.

“There’s a lot of things that go on that you’re dumbfounded

by,” Thomas said. “I just roll with the punches.”

He scoffed at the idea that Belichick sent him home Wednesday to

motivate him.

“Motivation is for kindergartners. I’m not a kindergartner,”

he said. “Sending somebody home, that’s like, ‘Oh, you’re

expelled,’ and come back and make good grades. Get that (expletive)

out of here. That’s ridiculous.”

Thomas admitted that he doesn’t watch the weather report. Then,

just before he changed the subject to Sunday’s game, another

veteran strolled by the pack of reporters surrounding him.

“Sorry, A.D.,” cornerback Shawn Springs said in a high-pitched


“Sorry, Shawn,” Thomas responded as both laughed.

Springs, 34, joined the Patriots this year after seven seasons

with Seattle and three with Washington. He started four of the

first five games, came off the bench in the next three and was

healthy but inactive for the next four games.

Thomas said he drove to Gillette Stadium by himself Wednesday

and was with another player when Belichick told both to leave. It

was the first time he was sent home for tardiness, he said.

“He’s the head coach. He makes all the calls and so whether you

agree with it or not, you just roll with them,” Thomas said.

“That’s one thing about Mother Nature. You can’t control that. You

can’t run people over getting to work, so there ain’t nothing to

really apologize (for). I didn’t try to be late. (There are) cars

sitting in the road, you’re sitting there. It’s not the Jetsons. I

can’t jump up and just fly. What am I supposed to do?”

So he went home and watched film of the Panthers.

“I tried to be professional by letting them know that I was

going to be late,” Thomas said. “I just do what I’m told. I was

told to go home so that’s what I did.”

On Thursday he was back, another day in a frustrating season for

him and his team.

“Real frustrating,” Thomas said.