BOSTON (CBS) — Judging by Bill Belichick’s demeanor Tuesday morning, releasing receiver Malcolm Mitchell was not an easy decision for the Patriots head coach.
The Patriots parted ways with Mitchell on Monday after a knee injury kept the third-year wideout from most of New England’s training camp practices. Mitchell missed all of last season with a knee injury and underwent another procedure last week, and despite his best efforts to make a comeback, it was not looking good for the 26-year-old.
Addressing the media Tuesday morning at Gillette Stadium, Belichick sounded despondent when asked about Monday’s decision.
“He did everything he could. It’s unfortunate it didn’t work out,” Belichick said of Mitchell. “I don’t know how he could have put in any more than he did.”
The Patriots drafted Mitchell in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft out of Georgia, and he had a big impact as a rookie. He came on strong late that season, finishing the regular season with 32 receptions for 401 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games, but made his biggest mark in Super Bowl LI. Mitchell made five of his six receptions in the second half as the Patriots erased a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons to complete the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Mitchell thanked the Patriots and New England fans on his Instagram page late Monday night.