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Patriots QB Mac Jones responds to ‘dirty’ player criticisms after Eli Apple block – MassLive.com


FOXBOROUGH — For the first time in Mac Jones’ career, he’s been fined by the league.

In Saturday’s loss to the Bengals, Jones dove at cornerback Eli Apple’s legs being behind the play as linebacker Germaine Pratt ran a potential turnover into the end zone. The league deemed the block illegal and docked Jones $11,139. Beyond that, Apple blasted him afterwards, calling it a “dirty play” and saying he’s seen the quarterback cross the line before.

(You can watch the play here.)

Current and ex-players from across the league — Darius Slay, Torrey Smith, Ryan Clark — echoed Apple’s comments, and on Wednesday afternoon, Jones was asked what he thought about being labeled a dirty player.

“Everybody has an opinion,” Jones said. “The biggest thing for me is just: Focus on being the best teammate I can be and earning the respect of the people in this building and the people I care about. Obviously I have respect for everyone around the league. It takes a lot to get to this league. I know there’s really good players out there and we’re all playing hard and trying to win. So at the end of the day you have to keep that in mind. It’s a game. You want to just have fun and enjoy it and compete against each other. That’s something that I’ve always done and I know my teammates appreciate that about me.

“So excited for the opportunity this week. Obviously a great team we get to go against and another opportunity. You don’t know how many more you’re going to get with this group of guys. That’s what it’s all about. The players in our locker room and on our team. So, excited. Great day of practice today and obviously need to build on it and stack up these days.”

So does Jones plan to appeal the fine?

“Really just focused on this week and let everyone else handle that stuff for me,” Jones replied.

Jones’ teammates still have his back. Earlier this week, long-time captain Matthew Slater said he didn’t believe the dirty label was warranted.

“I don’t see it as such in terms of him being a dirty player,” Slater said. “That’s not the person I know. It’s not the young man that I’ve gotten a chance to spend time around the last couple of years.

“You can’t control those narratives,” Slater said. “People are going to interpret events the way that they interpret them. I think we can’t concern ourselves too much with that because whatever we say is not going to change what people think or say about any particular player on this team.”





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