To repeat what I said Wednesday on Dale & Holley With a Shot of Thornton when news broke that the Patriots had released Dominique Easley, the most surprising part of it is that the Patriots are still capable of surprising me.
Easley is young. Appeared to be turning into the elite interior pass rusher that they’d hoped he be when they drafted him in the first round in 2014. He was under team control for the next three years. I can’t ever recall hearing the man speak, so from the outside looking in he appeared to the quiet team leader and diligent film room junkie the pre-draft profiles said he was.
So it begs the question, why? What reasons did they have for getting rid of him, now of all times. We speculated on the air that there had to be something more. Some off-field issues. Something dark and sinister, which, given the recent history of the franchise, we can be forgiving for assuming the worst. Tom E. Curran of CSN, who broke the story, came on the show and said it was all related to Easley not cooperating with team doctors regarding his treatment and also that he was just considered a bad element in a locker room that is in need of strong leadership.
Thursday, Patriots troll/Deflategate Truther/friend of our show, Ben Volin in the Boston Globe elaborated, detailing what multiple sources are telling him about Easley. The highlights:
- Two league sources said independently on Wednesday that Easley is “a 25-year-old in a 40-year-old’s body.”
- [I]t’s clear that Easley and the Patriots were never a good fit.
- [A] portrait emerged Wednesday of a player who struggled with maturity and his responsibilities of being a professional athlete.
- “Saw that coming,” one of Easley’s former Patriots teammates said upon hearing the news. “Injuries and locker room cancer.”
- Multiple league sources said Easley was unreliable and immature. “He’ll make an appointment for a massage and not show up,” one source said. “He’s just very disrespectful and irresponsible.”
- “I think he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,” another source said. “He comes across as an entitled kid. He reneges on everything. He thinks he’s invincible.”
- When it came to football, Easley played by his own rules, which didn’t go over well with Belichick and staff. He routinely ignored requests to rehab his injuries with the Patriots’ trainers, and instead did it on his own.
- The Patriots grew so fed up with Easley during his rookie year that they placed him on IR in December. … When the Patriots were raising the Lombardi Trophy in Arizona, Easley was partying in Las Vegas.
- The Patriots “never liked him from the get-go, and part of the problem was he would never listen to the medical advice,” one source said.
It’s important to note that this isn’t all coming from the team. This isn’t one person feeding dirt to a reporter like to kick a guy down the stairs on his way out the door like someone from the Red Sox did in 2011 to paint Terry Francona as an unstable, pill-addicted philanderer. Volin talked to multiple sources from outside the Patriots and a former teammate (Vince Wilfork? Just spit-ballin’ here…) who all give us a picture of a guy who’s body is breaking down, a loner who doesn’t buy into the team concept, doesn’t accept the same medical program everyone else has to, and who ultimately is a team-killing, self-entitled, clubhouse carcinogen.
If these reports are accurate, then there’s no crime here. Nothing nefarious. Just a team that values everybody working together and having each other’s backs as part of their formula for winning deciding that it’s not worth wrecking team chemistry, even if the unstable compound in the formula can get after quarterbacks. And it’s something we should have seen coming when he missed parts of his rookie workouts after being mauled by his own pit bull. Dead giveaway. DEAD giveaway.
By way of full disclosure, I owe a lot to Easley. If I hadn’t accurately predicted the Patriots would draft him when I was at Barstool, it’s possible Dennis & Callahan don’t start inviting me on as a fill-in host, The Belichick Whisperer never graduates from the Stool and maybe I’m not on the best radio show in the market. So I appreciate Dominique Easley’s place in my life. But he’s not worth keeping if he’s as bad as we’re hearing.
Now, if someone in the Patriots office could show Belichick how to block Urban Meyer on his phone, we’d all be better for it.