Question for the gallery: Can a bout be defined as a Revenge Game if a player never actually played a regular season game for the opponent?
This is the situation we sit in with New York Jets veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas. The 31-year-old wideout signed a deal with the New England Patriots in the offseason, was released during final roster cuts on Aug. 31, re-signed with the Pats on Sept. 2, was inactive Week 1 due to a hamstring injury and finally traded to New York on Sept. 10. The Jets and Pats face off Monday night.
"It was insulting, for sure," Thomas told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News on Wednesday about the machinations of his exit from New England. "Once I got cut (on Aug. 31), I could have just come here (to the Jets) and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone. So, it's like, 'Why did I waste my time?' Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me."
The Patriots traded Thomas because they planned to upgrade with Antonio Brown. The move ended in disaster. Now New England is dealing with injuries to the position.
Thomas wasn't angry with the Patriots' business approach but didn't appreciate how Bill Belichick dealt with the situation.
"It was disrespectful to me," Thomas said. "Like, you know, you could trust me and I could trust you. You told me when you cut me at the (final) cut, sit around you'll bring me back. And I stayed. I could have easily become a Jet once I got cut. ... I could have been here the next day after I got released. But I chose to stay."
Perhaps the funny part for Thomas in hindsight is the reason for trading Thomas was the Brown addition left too many mouths to feed. Now the Pats are scrambling to fill the WR corps.
"Coach (Belichick) came up to me and was like, 'Uh, we got too many guys. We can't get the ball around enough and we're going to trade you to the Jets,'" Thomas said. "And that was that. ... Ain't no reason to yell. They've won championships without me. I was only trying to be a part of something that was going to be good when I was there. ... They're doing a hell of a job."
Belichick thought they were honest with how they handled the situation.
"Look, Demaryius is a great kid. I have a ton of respect for him. He's very professional, and he did everything we asked him to do. Our circumstances changed a couple of times in that period leading up to when he was traded," Belichick said about Thomas' remarks. "I felt like I was always truthful with him, but things changed and therefore, what I said was not the same as what I had said previously. So it is what it is."
The Patriots' cold, business approach is nothing new. Some appreciate that no player is special; others don't care for it much. The world spins. Day falls. Night rises. We do it all again.
Thomas now gets to face the team he spent the summer with but didn't actually play a real game for. With the Jets looking friskier with Sam Darnold back, perhaps Thomas can get some modicum of payback for the perceived two-week shenanigans with a good game against a New England defense that is one of the best in the NFL.