BOSTON (CBS) — Last offseason was a mostly quiet one for the Patriots, though the team did seemingly make it a point to sign Mike Pennel. The team jumped at the chance to sign the veteran D-lineman, giving him a two-year deal worth as much as $8 million.
Despite high hopes for Pennel, though, he and the team failed to click, and Pennel was released late in August.
The 28-year-old eventually landed on his feet, though, signing with the Chiefs in October. This week, he’s getting ready to play in the Super Bowl.
And in speaking with the media at “Opening Night” on Monday, Pennel threw some serious shade at the Patriots’ coaching staff, seemingly taking aim at the now-departed defensive line coach, Bret Bielema.
“I didn’t really understand what was going on and didn’t really get any answers,” Pennel said Monday, via Zack Cox of NESN. “So after that point, it was a little bit of confusion, a little bit of relief when I got cut. But I’m just glad to be somewhere with a lot more transparency.”
According to Cox, Pennel said that a “disconnection between something I was doing with the defensive line coach” contributed to his release from the team.
That comment brings to mind the early-season team-issued suspension of veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who also had a disagreement with Bielema that led to Bennett missing a game and, ultimately, getting traded to Dallas.
Pennel added: “It’s different when you go up to your coach and talk life and not just football. It’s different when you can have a different technique or be able to talk through techniques with your coach. Some places you can do that; some places you can’t. New England wasn’t the place to do that.”
Despite getting a feel that a release was coming (based on limited playing time in the preseason), Pennel said he never got a full explanation from the Patriots why he was cut.
“As a competitor and as an athlete, things happen,” Pennel said, via the Boston Herald. “And you always want to know and sometimes in this business, especially the NFL, you don’t get answers to questions you want to know. … So after that point, it was a little bit of confusion, a little bit of relief when I got cut. [I thought] there’s bound to be somewhere with a lot more transparency and things like that.”