By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Monday night will officially be a revenge game for veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas.
OK, maybe not quite.
A member of the Patriots for a very brief time, Thomas will be suiting up for the Jets on Monday night against New England. Though his departure via trade in early September is largely an afterthought in these parts, the move quite obviously affected the 31-year-old quite a bit. So with Monday night’s meeting on tap, Thomas was asked about his abrupt departure from Foxboro.
“It was disrespectful to me,” Thomas told Manish Mehta regarding the Patriots’ decision to trade him to the Jets.
Thomas also added: “Having conversations with [Josh McDaniels] and a couple other people, it was like, ‘You’re going to be okay.’ Two weeks later, AB gets cut … and then they kicked me [to the curb] and shipped me out like I’m just a rookie.”
You may recall that Thomas was released by the Patriots on the day of final cuts at the end of August, though that transaction came with a wink and a nod that the team would re-sign him after sorting out some other business. The team did re-sign Thomas, who was dealing with a hamstring injury at the time, but traded him a week later, after jumping at the chance to sign Antonio Brown.
“Like, you know, you could trust me and I could trust you. You told me when you cut me at the [cutdown day], sit around you’ll bring me back. And I stayed,” Thomas told Mehta. “I could have easily become a Jet once I got cut. … I could have been here the next day after I got released. But I chose to stay.”
Though Thomas did present a reasonable, composed account of what took place, he admitted that his feelings were hurt by the whole ordeal.
“It was insulting, for sure,” Thomas told Mehta. “Once I got cut, I could have just come here [to the Jets] and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone. So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me.”
That may be so, but it’s also an entirely different take on his situation than what he offered late in the summer. Thomas — who suffered a torn Achilles while playing for Houston last December — told reporters that the Patriots were the only team interested in him this past offseason.
Though his recent comments about being “insulted” by the “waste of time” surely jumped off the page, Thomas’ larger stance appears to be eminently reasonable.
“They took a chance to bring me in and helped me get healthy,” Thomas told Mehta.
Thomas only mentioned Bill Belichick by name when telling a straightforward recounting of how the head coach broke the news of the trade to him, and Mehta noted that . (The notion that “Belichick will toss you away at a moment’s notice if someone better comes along” or that “trust is a myth in Foxborough” came specifically from Mehta, not directly from Thomas.)
“Coach [Belichick] came up to me and was like, ‘Uh, we got too many guys. We can’t get the ball around enough and we’re going to trade you to the Jets,’” Thomas shared with Mehta. “And that was that. … Ain’t no reason to yell.
He added: “They’ve won championships without me. I was only trying to be a part of something that was going to be good when I was there… They’re doing a hell of a job.”
During his Thursday press conference, Belichick was asked about Thomas.
“Demaryius is a great kid, I have ton of respect for him,” Belichick said. “Our circumstances changed a couple of times in that period leading up to when he was traded, so I felt like I was always truthful with him. But things changed, and therefore what I said was not the same as what it was — what I had said previously. It is what it is.”
Thomas has nine catches for 108 yards in his three games played with the Jets this season. In his first game with quarterback Sam Darnold last weekend, Thomas caught four passes (on four targets) for 62 yards. Brown played in one game for the Patriots, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, before getting himself into more trouble. The Patriots released Brown on Sept. 20. Perhaps the whole game of musical chairs was, as Thomas suggested, a giant waste of time.