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Patriots Claim Injured Panthers RB Off Waivers, But Did Belichick Break An Unwritten NFL Rule?

BOSTON (CBS) - The New England Patriots announced on Monday that they claimed rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers from Carolina.

No relation to Jabar, Gaffney, 23, was taken in the sixth round (204th overall) out of Stanford by the Carolina Panthers in the 2014 NFL Draft. However, a knee injury suffered in training camp over the weekend led Carolina to put him through waivers, in the hope that he would sneak through the fray and be able to land onto injured reserve.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots said not so fast.

The Patriots were awarded the claim for the 6-foot, 220-pounder, who finished his senior campaign at Stanford with 1,709 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns.

But now you're hearing teams around the league calling foul, because the Patriots supposedly violated an "unwritten rule" about respect, and steering clear of injured players on the waiver wire.

Carolina Panthers Rookie Minicamp
Tyler Gaffney #27 of the Carolina Panthers during Rookie Minicamp at Bank of America Stadium on May 17, 2014. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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This is reminiscent of Belichick claiming Giants tight end Jake Ballard off waivers in 2012 after New York also made the IR attempt. The Patriots were criticized heavily for the unwritten rule violation, and Ballard, who had microfracture knee surgery, would go on to play a total of zero snaps in New England.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe joined Adam Jones and Dave Goucher Tuesday morning, filling in for Toucher & Rich, to discuss.

"Anyone who is upset with what Belichick did just doesn't understand how the NFL works. The Panthers have 90 offseason roster spots right now, so if they really wanted Tyler Gaffney they would have just kept him on the roster and they wouldn't have exposed him to waivers. Obviously they didn't feel strongly about the player because they left him out there.

"Bill Belichick to his credit, Tyler Gaffney was somebody they scouted up and he snagged him. Now the Patriots have to carry him on the roster, so they'll only have 89 healthy players in camp. Anybody complaining about Belichick violating a rule is kind of being a baby and not understanding how reality works."

Listen below for the full Training Camp discussion:

Did Belichick Break An Unwritten Rule?


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