Jabrill Peppers on hot mic: Apologize to teammates for distraction. (0:59)Jabrill Peppers on hot mic: Apologize to teammates for distraction. Video by Mike Reiss (0:59)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers apologized to teammates Friday for any distraction caused by remarks he made to New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley on the field after Sunday's game.
In the aftermath of the Patriots' 10-7 loss to the Giants, Peppers went to embrace Barkley, his former teammate, and said: "You lucky we ass." The comment was picked up by an NFL Films microphone worn by the running back.
On Friday, Peppers was asked about the exchange, which went viral on social media.
"I just want to apologize to my teammates and coaches for even having to answer questions about that," Peppers said. "We have more important things to worry about than me being quoted on a hot mic. At the end of the day, we're 2-9, we have a top-five pick in the draft that didn't come via trade, and we all know the standard. We all 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."
Peppers, who played alongside Barkley with the Giants from 2019 to 2021, has been one of the individual bright spots in the Patriots' disappointing season. He has started all 11 games, playing 94.9% of the defensive snaps while totaling 59 tackles and a team-high six passes defended.
He has emerged as a team leader in his second season with the franchise and stressed Friday that he wants "to be part of the solution."
As for the hot mic, Peppers didn't take back what he said but regretted that it was released publicly.
"I'm a professional, so things like that should never happen," he said. "No need to blame anyone but myself. This is my seventh year in the league. I'm 28 years old. I know better. That was a little frustration. I know I'm smiling, but I was very, very angry. That's one [result] that I wanted, but at the end of the day, we're not doing enough to get it done right now. ...
"The guys in here, they know me. I speak my mind. I got caught in the hot mic, and I didn't even give Saquon a chance to tell me [he was wearing it]. I don't think it was right they put that out, because a lot of things get said on that football field -- and I know there are multiple people mic'd up game in and game out that they don't put on. I was kind of taken aback by that, but at the end of the day, I own that. I own everything I say, and I'm not running from it."
Peppers credited Bill Belichick as "one of the best coaches to ever coach," as well as the weekly game plans put together by his assistants, while lamenting that players haven't executed them consistently enough.
"We have great players in the locker room, but every team has great players," he said. "There is great parity across the league. If those great players aren't executing, that team isn't a good team.
"But that doesn't speak to the character of the men we have 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 Patriots host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.