SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Social media has been abuzz since Friday night about the possibility that Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard did not make the trip to California for Sunday's game against the 49ers, the Providence Journal reported.
The Patriots flew to Santa Clara Friday afternoon. Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal confirmed that Sheard stayed home in what was termed a team decision.
I'm told Jabaal Sheard in fact did not travel with his teammates to San Francisco. This is being called a team decision.— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) November 19, 2016
A photo from the Celtics-Warriors game was posted to Sheard's Instagram account last night.
While his teammates were instagraming on a plane en route to San Fran, Jabaal Sheard was instagraming from the Celtics game pic.twitter.com/sJ4INqFPfb— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) November 19, 2016
Sheard was not on the injury report this week so if he did get left behind he is a healthy scratch.
Sheard - who is in his second year with the Patriots and will be a free agent at year's end - sat for all but the final play of the first quarter last week against Seattle. He played just 16 snaps, a drastic drop off for one of the team's more explosive front-seven players.
Sheard's playing time reduction last week and the possibility he's a healthy scratch in the wake of the team's trade of Jamie Collins during the bye week would be another indication that things are sour between the coaching staff and some of the defensive players.
Trading Chandler Jones and Collins and the reduced role for Sheard are to me indications that the looming free agent status for each player has been such a focal point it's undermined the 2016 performance.