FOXBORO -- Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers was caught saying something rather unflattering about the 2-9 Patriots after last weekend's loss to the Giants. On Friday, he apologized for the hot-mic moment.
In the moments after New England's 10-7 loss to the Giants in New Jersey last weekend, Peppers was caught telling New York running back Saquon Barkley, "You lucky we a**," which was put on the NFL Films highlight reel from the week.
It's gotten a lot of attention, and on Friday, Peppers stood at his locker inside Gillette Stadium and issued a lengthy apology to his teammates and coaches for the comments. He said that he wasn't criticizing anyone on the team, or singling out anyone with his remark.
"First of all, I just want to apologize to my teammates and the coaches for even having to answer questions about that. We've got more important things to worry about than me being caught on a hot mic," said Peppers. "But at the end of the day, we're 2-9 and we've got a top-five pick in the draft that didn't come via trade. We all know the standard. We know what it's supposed to look like and it's not that right now.
"It's not no shot at anybody in the locker room. I said 'we.' We own that and I own that," he continued. "We've got good players, great players in the locker room, but every team has great players. There's great parity across the league and if those great or good players aren't executing, then that team isn't a good team. But that doesn't speak to the character of men we've got in this locker room. We all come to work willing and ready to do whatever we can to help this team win. You know, the ball just hasn't been rolling in our favor, and that's on no one but us.
"The coaches do a hell of a job week in and week out with the game plan, putting us in the right position to make plays, and when the opportunity comes, we just don't do that at a consistent enough level in all phases of the game," he added. "We've got one of the best coaches to ever coach [in Bill Belichick], and he comes in week after week telling us what we have to do to win this game, who we have to stop, how we have to go about business. Time and time again, week after week, it comes up in the game exactly how he said it, and we don't capitalize on our opportunities.
"So, it's frustrating, just like it's frustrating for all the guys. I'm a professional, so things like that should never happen. No need to blame anyone but myself. It's my seventh year in the league, I'm 28 years old and I know better," continued Peppers. "That was a little frustration. I know I'm smiling, but I was very, very angry. That's one that I wanted. But at the end of the day, we're not doing enough to get it done right now, and we all know that. But we've got six more opportunities to go out there and try to build momentum going into next year, and you know, who knows? AFC is wide open right now. We take care of business how we're supposed to take care of business, who knows? But that only starts week in and week out, and that starts with the Chargers this Sunday.
"So I just want to apologize again, man, because I don't ever want to be a distraction. We've got enough things to worry about around here. I try to be a guy to go out there and lead by example, play hard down in, down out. But we all own that, and I want to be a part of the solution. So, it is what it is," he said. "But the guys in here, they know me. They know I speak my mind. They know I'm honest. I just got caught on a hot mic, man, that's all that was."
Peppers, now in his second season in New England, is one of the few bright spots on the Patriots this season. He's an intense player and has become a leader in the locker room, and wanted to make sure his words were not taken the wrong way by his teammates.
But he was also a little miffed at the NFL for using the clip in the Week 12 highlight package.
"I don't think it was right that they put that out, because a lot of things are said on that football field. I know there's multiple people mic'd up game in and game out that they don't put out," he said. "So I was kind of taken aback by that. But at the end of the day, I own that on everything I say, and I'm not running from it. This Sunday, we've got a chance to go out there, build momentum and get this bad taste out of our mouths, and that's what we're going to do."
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