The New England Patriots tend to treat bureaucratic regulation the way the rest of us treat broccoli: a necessary evil to be choked down only when you're being watched. So it's not much of a surprise to hear the Pats were the focus of an NFL investigation into whether New England played fast and loose with injury-list requirements.
The investigation was kicked off last month when former Pats Aqib Talib and Brandon Spikes made some curious injury-related comments to their new teams.
When asked about his hip, which reportedly gave him trouble last year, new Bronco Talib told the Denver media, “I haven't had a hip problem since Tampa. The Patriots have their way of reporting stuff, but I haven't had a hip problem since Tampa. The injury I had was actually a quad injury, it was reported as a hip injury, but that's how they do things."
Spikes, now a Buffalo Bill, offered a similar non-answer answer. When asked about his own stint on the injured reserve, where he was placed prior to the start of the playoffs, Spikes said, "That's just how things go there. Almost like what happened with Talib and his hip."
That was enough to get the NFL interested, but not enough to draw any conclusions. “It was determined that the Patriots complied with the injury report procedures regarding both players,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello announced by email.
So there you go. Next time you need time off work, don't bother telling your boss your exact symptoms. Just say you're down with an injury, and that Bill Belichick said it's OK for you to miss work. It'll go just fine.