A week after rushing for 201 yards, New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray didn't play in Sunday's 34-9 victory against the Detroit Lions after he didn't report to the team's facility on time Friday.
Asked after the game why Gray did not play, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said only: "We do what we think is best. That's what we did today."
Gray missed practice Friday because he overslept. He reached out to Belichick and his teammates to apologize for being late. A source told ESPN's Josina Anderson that Gray was told Friday that he wouldn't start Sunday's game.
Team and league sources confirmed to ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan that Belichick let his team know following the victory over Detroit that he would not tolerate any tardy players on his team, although he did not single out Gray by name.
A contrite Gray would not confirm whether he was disciplined in brief postgame comments, saying he was "moving past" the issue.
"I'm glad we got the team win. I think it would have stung more if I didn't play and we would have lost the game," Gray said. "I'm happy for these guys and I just wish I was able to contribute to the win, but I was glad that we came away with the victory and these guys played great."
Gray took to Twitter later Sunday to say he was focused on the Patriots' next game against the Green Bay Packers.
Belichick has a long-standing rule that if a player doesn't report on time, he doesn't practice that day. It happened earlier this year with cornerback Darrelle Revis, who returned later that day to apologize to Belichick.
The absence did not cost Revis any playing time, as he started the ensuing game against the Chicago Bears.
"Jonas understands that everybody understands his situation," Revis said. "If you show up late, Bill don't like it."
Lee Schechter contributed to this report.