BOSTON (CBS) — It was reported Thursday that Aaron Dobson was benched for the last two games because of an altercation the second-year receiver had with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
But head coach Bill Belichick denied that report on Friday. When asked if the decision to sit Dobson was for football or disciplinary reasons, the coach quickly said “football.”
When further asked about the report, Belichick said there was no incident between the receiver and coordinator, and said he would have a comment on the situation later Friday.
Several hours after his press conference, Belichick released the following statement through the team’s PR staff:
“In my year and a half with Aaron Dobson, he has always been respectful to me and to the rest of the coaching staff. He has never once been argumentative or confrontational. The suggestion and reporting that his playing time was in any way the result of a ‘loud disagreement’ with a coach is completely false.”
Dobson spoke to reporters after Belichick’s statement was released.
“I’m glad he stepped in and said what he said,” Dobson said of Belichick. “It was false, so I’m glad he said what he said, and I’m just ready to move on and be ready for Cincinnati.”
Dobson was asked if he’s had any issues with McDaniels.
“We actually have a really great relationship, to tell you the truth,” Dobson said.
The Boston Globe’s Shalise Manza Young reported Wednesday night that there was “at least one loud disagreement” between Dobson and McDaniels, leading to Dobson’s inactive status for the two games.
“The explanation I got [Wednesday] night is that Aaron Dobson mouthed off to Josh McDaniels before the Oakland game,” she said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich. “That’s why he’s been inactive the last couple of weeks. Not a great relationship you could say at this point. I don’t know what was said at this point, but whatever was said it warranted him being inactive the last few weeks.”
Dobson, who missed time during training camp following offseason foot surgery, has just one reception for 13 yards this season. He was also inactive for Week 1’s loss to the Miami Dolphins.
With Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins both inactive last week, the Patriots had just three receivers active for their Monday Night Football loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Belichick tip-toed around the question when asked if Dobson would be active against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
“We’re going to make the best decisions that we can make every week; try to activate the players that we think give us the best chance to win,” said Belichick. “It’s the same thing we do on every game. This game is no different than that. That’s what we do.”
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