Last year, former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett said teammates lost respect for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo when he sat out a game with a shoulder injury in 2016, requiring the Patriots to turn to third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett during Tom Brady‘s Deflategate suspension.
Julian Edelman is on Bennett’s side.
Edelman said on the I Am Athlete podcast that a lot of the players in the Patriots’ locker room questioned why Garoppolo couldn’t tough it out when his teammates needed him.
“Jacoby, he tore ligaments in his thumb in the win against [the Texans in Week 3]. So we go into Week 4 and I guess Jimmy was practicing and then decided not to play. Jacoby played with no ligaments in his thumb, which you can’t do that as a quarterback. You can’t grip [the football],” Edelman said, via Boston.com. “A lot of guys got mad at it. I’m not going to lie, I got mad about it. I sacrificed my body all day long. I was taking shots for this, numbing up that, ribs, broken ribs, shoulders, Grade 3 hanging on by limbs just to play. I can understand why Marty thinks like that.”
Edelman also said that, given the contract Garoppolo got from the 49ers after the Patriots traded him the next year, it might have paid off financially for Garoppolo to prioritize his own health.
“You also have to look, hey, [Garoppolo] got paid $30 million,” said Edelman. “So maybe I’m the dumb guy who didn’t make as much money to sacrifice for that team. I guess I played for the memories, not the money.”
Garoppolo, who is currently recovering from another shoulder injury, will likely be traded or released by the 49ers before the regular season starts. Edelman doesn’t seem to think his next team will be getting the right kind of franchise leader.