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Trent Brown Doubles Down on Critique of Cunningham Handling



New England Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown (77) warms up before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Malik Cunningham exiting the New England Patriots practice squad left many fans disappointed. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens, becoming a part of their 53-man roster. Offensive tackle Trent Brown’s post on Instagram made it clear those fans were not alone. Brown wished Cunningham well in his new home. The message sent: “go flourish where your talent is respected.

At the time, this seemed like Brown might be taking a swipe at the franchise that employs him. When questioned about this on Wednesday, Brown left no doubt about his feelings on the matter.

Trent Brown spoke to Sophie Weller of A to Z Sports. He shared his feelings about Malik Cunningham’s departure from Foxboro. Instead of shying away from his online post, Brown opted to speak without a filter. One thing that was very clear from Weller’s article is that Brown viewed Cunningham as a quarterback. It was never clear if the New England Patriots shared this perspective.

“That’s really good for him to actually get a real chance to play his real position,” Brown said of Cunningham’s opportunity in Baltimore. Despite playing quarterback exclusively in college at Louisville, New England tried the rookie at wide receiver and special teams, in addition to taking reps at “his real position.”

“I mean, probably the most exciting drive we had in that stadium was against Houston in preseason games this season,” Brown said. “Like, my guy couldn’t even get a red jersey.” The red jersey referenced by Trent Brown is the “no contact” jersey given to quarterbacks in practice. All of the Patriots quarterbacks have worn them, with the exception of Malik Cunningham.

Weller asked Brown if he thought Cunningham deserved more of a chance to play this season.

“Absolutely,” Brown responded. “Everybody on the team did. Everybody.”

Trent Brown seemed to be taking out a number of people with his latest comments. Are his comments a shot at Bill Belichick and Bill O’Brien for not giving Cunningham more of a chance? Or for forcing him to try and play positions other than quarterback upon his entrance to the NFL? Brown besmirches Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe with his comments as well. His implication that “everybody” felt the same way as Brown is not going to give either quarterback still on his team a boost of confidence moving forward.

Perhaps what Trent Brown is saying is all accurate. Maybe New England would have been better off had they given Malik Cunningham a chance to focus exclusively on playing quarterback. And perhaps if Cunningham had gotten a chance to play, the excitement level, and even the results, would have been significantly different than what has been seen at Gillette Stadium this season.

Did “everybody” feel Malik Cunningham deserved a chance to play for the New England Patriots this season? Well, not everyone is a free agent after this season and free to depart themselves. Therefore, not everyone will say.  But Trent Brown is a pending free agent. He can exit New England after the season, just as Cunningham did during it. And with Brown choosing not to bite his tongue on Patriots personnel decisions, the idea of the left tackle being back in 2024 seems slim at best.

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