Martellus Bennett called out then Patriots teammate Jimmy Garopollo saying “you can’t win with a b*tch at for a quarterback” and Julian Edelman supported his position.
Here is why they both are wrong.
The injury was not to his non-throwing shoulder as Edelman incorrectly claimed and it is not the first time reports on Garopollo’s shoulder have been inaccurate.
As a former NFL head team physician, I would have allowed a QB to play with an injection for such an injury and I have done that before. But if I were his agent, the story would be different.
It is possible to play thru a grade 2 AC joint sprain with a pain killing injection, but much harder when on the throwing shoulder. There is no easy way to numb for practices so even if he played week 4 in 2016 it would have been a big unknown how he would perform. Tom Brady, who was out with the “deflategate” suspension at the time, would be okay with playing without real practice, However, that is a different story for any young first-time starter.
Garopollo playing on his rookie deal, performed very well in the one and half games before the injury and had himself set up for a big second contract. His agent’s job is to protect him and the risk of playing injured was likely not worth it. Another good game doesn’t change perceptions but a poor performance could negate confidence in him as a full time starter. Interestingly, Donald Yee was the agent for Garopollo, Brady and Edelman.
Bennett was okay with Garopollo’s agent protecting his body (and his pocketbook), but his main complaint was finding out on Sunday that he couldn’t play, not earlier on Thursday to allow the team to game plan. Note how teammate at the time Devin McCourty seems to laugh knowingly at the criticism.
Just because some players didn’t know Garopollo wasn’t playing until Sunday, doesn’t mean that Bill Belichick wasn’t aware. The Patriots are well known to legally play injury reporting games with listing a lot of players as “questionable”. It certainly is plausible/likely that the team didn’t want its 53 players knowing who the QB starter is for fear of the info getting out. “Do your job” and don’t worry about the others is after all the Patriot way. Yes, Garopollo practiced and was listed as limited but that can mean just one handoff, or all throws except one.
Finally, Garopollo has proven that he can and will play thru injury. In the most recent playoffs, he played thru two significant injuries for San Francisco.
He lead a playoff run with a UCL thumb injury — as Brissett had in 2016 — and another throwing shoulder injury that ultimately required offseason surgery.
If his teammates realized it was the throwing shoulder, would they change their opinion? In my mind, Garopollo may have listened to his agent and made a business decision but it is unfair to call him a “b*tch”. His track record has proved otherwise.