Fans of the New England Patriots recently became the recipients of bad news. Their struggling offense could be alarmingly short on weapons in the passing game when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys to town this week.
There is Julian Edelman, who is battling some injury issues of his own, and the running backs coming out of the backfield. But with Phillip Dorsett still in the concussion protocol and Mohamed Sanu out with a high ankle sprain, Tom Brady is not going to have much to work with.
He will have rookies Jakobi Myers and N’Keal Harry, who have accounted for a total of 18 receptions this season and no touchdowns. Matthew Slater is listed as a wide receiver on the depth chart but hasn’t caught a pass since 2011.
Otherwise, he’ll have to lean on his tight ends—Ryan Izzo, Ben Watson, and Matt LaCosse. They have combined for 22 receptions and one touchdown this season.
It doesn’t paint a very optimistic picture.
Patriot fans are probably wishing the team had held onto Josh Gordon (instead of making the Seattle Seahawks a better team). And that Rob Gronkowski’s big announcement had been about his impending NFL return and not some party during Super Bowl weekend. But Gordon is gone, as is Gronk—which has fans pining for someone else to return.
When the news hit that Sanu was going to be out for a few weeks, many fans took to Twitter to implore the team to bring back Antonio Brown. But does he want to come back? In a video he posted to YouTube last week, it almost sounded like he was ready to throw in the towel.
But then why post an apology to Robert Kraft?
Why try to get in on Colin Kaepernick’s workout?
Why share all the posts from Eagles fans trying to talk their team into signing you?
And then there are the workout videos, including his most recent one with him wearing his old Raiders helmet:
At this point, it absolutely could happen. Until his next meltdown, it seems like he wants to play. However, Brown could be put on the Commissioner’s Exempt list or suspended the next day. But the Patriots could sign him, and – barring a suspension – he could play.
But even if the Patriots had him for just a couple of weeks, it may be worth it. Maybe by then, Dorsett can return (if he already hasn’t), and Sanu will be back from his injury. If he can remain on the roster, great; if not, oh well— Sanu and Dorsett will be back.
What about the backlash for signing a guy accused of the things he’s accused of? He has insisted he is innocent and has recently filed a countersuit against his accuser. But the public perception is already against him.
There will be some backlash, but nothing soothes the angry Twitter triggers of outraged fans quite like winning. If he can help Tom Brady win games, Patriots fans will put up with almost any kind of personality.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.