September 27, 2023

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Patriots Packers suspended after injury to Isaiah Bolden

Patriots Packers suspended after injury to Isaiah Bolden

Mike Reese and Rob DimowskiAug 19, 2023 11:27 p.m. ET3 minutes to read

Bill Bellick, Matthew Slater respond to Isaiah Bolden’s injury

Bill Belichick and Matthew Slater talk about the dreaded injury to Patriots cornerback Isiah Bolden that halted their preseason game against the Packers.

Green Bay, Wisconsin. — the The Patriots and Packers halted a preseason game Saturday night early in the fourth quarter after New England cornerback Isiah Bolden absorbed a hit from a teammate, immobilizing him, putting him on a stretcher, and carting him off the field.

The Patriots said Bolden was “felt all over his limbs, but he was taken to a local hospital for further testing and monitoring.”

“We are all praying for Isaiah,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “I appreciate the way the university handled it. I think it was the right thing to do.”

With 10:29 left in the fourth quarter, referee John Hussey announced to the crowd at Lambeau Field: “With the approval of both the coaches and the team leadership, we have elected to suspend play for the evening. The game is officially over.”

The injury put things in perspective, Belichick said, adding, “We are all very lucky.” Packers coach Matt LaFleur called it a “very scary end to the game” and said he agreed with the decision to name it.

The Patriots, who trained with the Packers on Wednesday and Thursday, were leading 21-17 at the time.

Bolden was covering a slanted pass towards the inside of the field and collided with teammate Calvin Monson. He remained on the ground, and when the medical staff arrived, the entire Patriots team eventually gathered on the field and knelt nearby.

Packers rookie receiver Malik Heath, who caught the pass on the play, said he didn’t realize exactly what had happened until the play was over. Then he realized it was Bolden, whom he knew from their college days. Heath is from Jackson, Mississippi, the same city where Bolden went to college at Jackson State.

“I know him, so I didn’t want to finish,” said Health. “I felt really bad, too. It was a good thing we didn’t finish it. It was scary, too. This could have happened to me during a hit.”

Captain Matthew Slater, the Patriots’ longest serving player, led the players in prayer. Slater is later seen chatting with Belichick and LaFleur on the field.

Patriots players said after the game that the scene reminded them of what happened to Damar Hamlin last season, when the Buffalo Bills suffered cardiac arrest on the court during Monday Night Football.

“Our primary concern is for Isaiah, his well-being, and our entire team is praying for him,” Slater said. “I just hope things aren’t as serious as they seem.”

A 23-year-old selected in the seventh round from Jackson State, Bolden is the only player drafted from HBCU this year. In 2021, he led the nation (both FBS and FCS) in kickoff return average at 36.6 yards per attempt and tied the FCS team with two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

“It was a pleasure to be around,” Slater said of Bolden. β€œHe’s a young man with great talent, always has a smile on his face, always positive, and always brings great energy and effort to his practice… All the guys love him. He fits seamlessly into our locker room.”

ESPN’s Rob Dimowski contributed to this report.

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