Jakobi Meyers may have stepped foot in the New England Patriots’ locker room for the final time on Monday, and if he did, he’s grateful for the people who he shared the room with.
The wide receiver’s contract expires at season’s end, and with the Patriots losing their regular-season finale on Sunday to the Buffalo Bills, there are no more games for Meyers and New England to play this season.
As the Patriots closed up shop for the year on Monday, Meyers called it a “bittersweet day” while he was packing his things up from his locker.
“It’s kind of bad on the back, honestly,” Meyers joked at first when asked about “plastic bag day.” “Just carrying everything and packing it all up – I’d rather play football than be packing up my locker. It is kind of bittersweet seeing everybody coming in here and grabbing their stuff and head out. At the same time, it’s kind of the business.”
In the moments following Sunday’s game, Meyers expressed a desire to return to New England. But he said he hasn’t even thought about free agency yet. Instead, he wants to fully heal from the shoulder injuries he’s suffered in the final month-plus of the season. He also suffered a knee injury and a concussion this season.
“Honestly, I haven’t really gotten to that point yet,” Meyers said when asked about his future. “I’m just more excited to get healthy, get a little rest, see my family – that’s probably the biggest thing, to see my family. After that, I’ll probably figure out what’s best for me.”
Jakobi Meyers said his favorite memory from this #Patriots season was working w/the receivers, called it an “incredible group”
— Conor Roche (@ConorRoche27) January 9, 2023
Jakobi Meyers has been the Patriots’ top receiver over the last few seasons. He had an 82-catch year in 2021 and arguably had the best season of his career in 2022, recording 67 receptions for 804 yards with a career-best six touchdowns.
But Meyers was just one of the few bright spots in a Patriots offense that left a lot to be desired. New England ranked 26th in total offense, 27th in third-down conversions and dead last in red zone efficiency.
Meyers didn’t hold back on his disappointment of how the offense performed, but still found some bright spots.
“I would say yes, [it was frustrating]. Any time you don’t live up to what you think you can be, that is frustrating,” Meyers shared. “At the same time, we still know we put a lot of good plays on tape and even though we didn’t really get exactly the results we wanted, we’re still proud of what we put out there. We all tried our hardest at the end of the day, so I’m proud of that.”
If Meyers returns to New England next season, he isn’t sure if there’s one thing the offense can do to improve. He knows though that he’ll put in the work to make sure it improves.
“That’s a loaded question. Yeah, that’s tough right there,” Meyers said when asked what specifically the offense could do to improve. “It’s a lot of things. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing and say, ‘Just go do this and you’ll be better next year,’ because the league could change next year. You don’t know what offense will work next year or what plays will work. So, just really as long as the guys buy in and are ready to do their job, that’ll be a good starting point.”
If this was Meyers’ last time in the Patriots’ locker room, he leaves with some fond memories. The fourth-year pro blossomed from being an undrafted rookie that switched from playing quarterback to receiver a couple years prior in 2019 to being the team’s best receiver.
That isn’t what he’ll remember the most about playing in New England though. Instead, he’ll remember the relationships he built with his fellow teammates, including two important veterans.
“Ah man, a lot. I could spend days just talking about it,” Meyers said when asked to reflect on his time in New England. “I just, I learned a lot about myself, who I want to be. I got to meet a lot of people that I’ll never forget. Just off the top of my head, [Devin McCourty], [Matthew Slater], they showed me what kind of man, what kind of father, what kind of friend I want to be in the future.
“Just shoutout to the people I met while playing here. They helped me grow and become a better person. I’ll remember that more than the plays than anything. The people I’ve come in contact with in this locker room are special.”