Text of Adalius Thomas's conversation with reporters Thursday in the Patriots locker room:
What can you tell us about yesterday?
“I got sent home. That’s pretty much it, for being late.”
Can you add more context to that; maybe a reason behind it?
“I think everyone woke up to the snow yesterday. I didn’t know it was going to snow. There was traffic. I can’t run people over getting to work. I don’t do that. I actually almost had a car accident. It is what it is. He did what he thought was best for him. That’s what he did.”
How surprising was it to you?
“It was surprising, just from the standpoint that you notify when you think you’re going to be late. And it still happens. That’s what I was told to do, when you think you’re going to be late –- notify or whatever.”
First time you’ve ever been sent home?
“Yeah. First time.”
Were you here or did you get a phone call to leave?
“I was here.”
Have you spoken with Bill Belichick since?
To clear the air.
“There is nothing to talk about.”
It seems like there is a strain, from my view, between the two of you. Maybe clearing the air can get people on the same page.
“You have to ask him about that. I have no idea. I just do what I’m told. I was told to go home so that’s what I did.”
Do you feel the need to talk to your teammates about what happened yesterday?
“Everybody knows what happened.”
Do you feel compelled to say something to them –- an apology or what have you?
“I don’t know. That’s one thing about Mother Nature. You can’t control that. You can’t run people over getting to work. There is nothing to really apologize about. I didn’t try to be late. That’s basically it, though. I don’t know what else to say. You leave home, you have people there, cars sitting in the road, you’re sitting there, what do you do? It’s not the Jetsons, I can’t jump up and just fly. What the heck am I supposed to do?”
How frustrating has this season been for you from a personal standpoint?
“Real frustrating. But it is what it is. One thing about being a professional, there are good things and bad things. So you know there are a lot of things you can say or whatever. It’s just not a good time. I don’t want people to think –- it was put out there like I just didn’t show up or didn’t have a reason, and nobody knew. That’s not true. That’s not the case at all. That being the case, I was trying to be a professional and let them know traffic is bad and I might not make it on time. After you do that, there is nothing else you can really do.”
What time did you get to the stadium?
“That’s irrelevant. 8:09 or something like that.”
Were you driving in with any of the other guys?
“We were all by ourselves. We didn't carpool or anything like that.”
You talk about being professional. Do you feel they treated you professionally?
“That’s a personal thing. He’s the head coach. He makes all the calls. So whether you agree with it or not, you just roll with him. That’s why they pay him to be the head coach. He has that title. He doesn’t have to have a reason to send me home. You just have to abide by it. I was told to go home. I went home, enjoyed my day off, put my toes up in the air, and relaxed.”
Are you concerned that this is at all a distraction as this team is fighting for a playoff berth?
“I think it’s more than what it should be. Your focus should be on Carolina, but instead, it’s on this whole topic of being late. It will be determined on Sunday after the game. If we play well, it will be the whole great thing. If we don’t, you guys will kind of come back to this whole thing and say it was a distraction. So you might as well write it now, what you think it is. Don’t be 20-20 hindsight. Don’t do that now.”
How did this affect your preparation?
“I actually watched a lot of film yesterday, a lot of games. I kind of got a jump on the film because I had a lot of free time on my hands.”
Did you talk to the other players who were late?
What was their reaction?
“I’ll let you ask them about their reactions. I can only speak for myself. I’m not going to speak for anybody, or say what somebody else said. If they want that to be known, I think it’s only fair for them to say that.”
Do you think Bill used you as some sort of message or teaching tool, or something like that?
“You have to ask … I have to know. Teaching tool? I don’t know. I can’t figure out what Bill thinks or knows. I don’t know. I promise you I don’t.”
Do you expect any ramifications as far as playing time?
“I have no idea. I just do what I’m told. Whatever I’m told to do, that’s what I do and I try to do it in a professional manner. I try to come here, be professional, try to do what I’m asked to do, and try to do it to the best of my ability.”
Were the four of you told at the same time or was it an individual?
“I was here. Me and other players were here. We were told together. It wasn’t in a meeting or anything like that.”
By Bill or someone else?
“I was notified by Bill.”
After the Tennessee game when you were a healthy scratch, you said if Bill wanted to come talk to you, he could come talk to you. Have you had any conversations about any discomfort between the two of you?
Is the fact there is a disconnect between a coach and player a problem?
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’m dumbfounded. I don’t try to figure it out. I’ll let you guys do it. You guys do a lot more guessing at it than I do. Like I said, whatever I’m told to do, that’s what I do.”
You really are perplexed?
“I mean, there are a lot of things that can go on that you are dumbfounded by. It’s not just that. You just roll with it. I’m an Indian. I’m not the chief. I just roll with the punches.”
Can what happened yesterday serve as motivation?
“Motivation is for kindergartners. I’m not a kindergartner. Sending somebody home, that’s like ‘He’s expelled, come back and make good grades.’ Get that [expletive] out of here. That’s ridiculous. Motivation?”
Did you get fined for being late?
“I have no idea. I haven’t received anything like that. The biggest thing is trying to get back to Carolina, trying to get business back to hand. I know you guys had questions about it, then it’s lingering. Is it this? Is it that? I wanted to clear my name from the standpoint that I tried to be professional by letting them know I was going to be late.”
Did you talk to Bill today?
Will you now watch the weather?
“I never really watched the weather like that. They’re 50-50. It’s either going to rain or it’s not … Like I said, I got a chance to watch a lot of film. They have great backs. Good wide receivers. We have to try to get a win. That’s the only thing that matters now that I’ve addressed all the questions about tardiness, snow and stuff like that. I know you are all going to take off now, with all the juicy stuff gone.”
You talked about clearing your name with us. Do you want to clear your name with teammates?
"No, like I said, we’re on to Carolina now. That’s really what we’re trying to focus on now. We’re not focusing on apologizing to somebody. I didn’t do anything intentionally. I didn’t try to be late.”