New England Patriots

Jabrill Peppers apologizes for hot-mic comment to Saquon Barkley

"It’s not no shot at anybody in the locker room."

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Speaking to reporters on Friday, New England Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers was apologetic for his hot-mic comment that made waves on social media.

Peppers told New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, "You lucky we ass" after the Patriots' 10-7 loss last Sunday. NFL Films mic'd up Barkley for the game and included Peppers' quip in their highlight video from the Week 12 matchup.

In his apology, Peppers lamented causing distraction in the locker room but didn't walk back his candid remark.

“First of all, I just want to apologize to my teammates and the coaches for even having to answer questions about that," he said. "We’ve got more important things to worry about than me being caught on a hot mic. 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 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. I own that. 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, 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.

“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."

Peppers also heaped praise on Bill Belichick, who's believed to be on the hot seat after 24 years as New England's head coach.

“We’ve got one of the best coaches to ever coach, 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. And 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," Peppers said.

“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 anybody but myself. It’s my seventh year in the league, I’m 28 years old and I know better. 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."

After his earnest apology, Peppers made it clear he wasn't pleased with NFL Films including his comment in their video.

"The guys in here, they know me. They know I speak my mind. They know I’m honest," he said. "I just got caught on a hot mic, man, that’s all that was. I didn’t even give Saquon a chance to tell me. But 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.

“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.”

Peppers has otherwise been a bright spot during the Patriots' abysmal 2023 campaign. The 28-year-old has stepped up as a leader for New England's defense and recorded an interception, six passes defensed, a forced fumble, one sack, and 62 tackles through 11 games played.

He'll look to help the Pats snap a four-game losing skid when they host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

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