Kenny Moore recently opened up about his depression during his four months with the Patriots. Moore is now a solid starter for the Colts, but his time with the Pats took a huge mental toll.
Kenny Moore, a 2017 Patriots UDFA who’s become a standout CB for the Colts, really, really hated his time in New England. Fascinating stuff from @TyDunne. https://t.co/KlrZnqNlIp pic.twitter.com/NWEYQqtKZF
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) March 19, 2021
In an interview with Tyler Dunne of “Go Long Indianapolis”, Moore spoke up about how he hit a low point in his life when he was a rookie with the New England Patriots in the summer of 2017.
He called those months the “longest four months” of his life. Moore almost quit football, and he was so close to never truly realizing his full potential. It just goes to show you that success isn’t everything. The Patriots dominated the 2000’s, but Moore still wanted out, and not just from the team, but football itself. There’s levels to that.
What Happened To Kenny Moore With The New England Patriots?
For Moore, it wasn’t a particular incident, or altercation that led to his depression while he was with the Pats. It was just the overall culture. We all know how ruthlessly Bill Belichick instills a sense of discipline and respect. His Patriots will never make a fundamental mistake or lose their cool during a game.
However, that level of discipline takes commitment. The “Patriot Way” isn’t for everyone. Moore found this out the hard way when he arrived in the summer of 2017. The Patriots demand a certain level of excellence from all their players, but sometimes it can get overwhelming for a rookie who never would have expected something like that.
After all, Moore had a choice of which team he wanted to go. Why wouldn’t he want the Patriots? They just won the Super Bowl in 2016, and the hero of that game was another undrafted free agent corner back. Players went from nobodies to household names with the Patriots, that’s what they were know for.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way for Moore. He was rattled by the Patriots, and it left him scarred to the point where he wondered if every NFL team was like this.
“That was one of the low spots of my life because that’s really when I felt like, ‘I’m probably not built for the league.’ And having that feeling of, ‘You’re not good enough,’ that’s a bad feeling. You feel like you don’t belong. I lost all of my joy and passion. I didn’t even want to play football.
This “toxic culture” is something many ex-Patriots and NFL players have alluded to before. Matthew Stafford’s preferred trade destinations explicitly left out the Patriots. Danny Amendola took a shot at Belichick when he said the Patriots way was defined by Tom Brady. Eagles tackle Lane Johnson said the NFL is a “fear-based” organization.
Is It All Bad With The New England Patriots?
Of course, if the Patriots seem like such a dreaded NFL franchise, why do players still want to sign there? Safety Tavon Wilson (played with the Patriots from 2012-15) had something to say about that.
“The NFL is a production-based so when you go to New England, they just want to work and want to win. My first two years, I didn’t understand it. But my third year, once I got comfortable and all that, New England is literally one of the most fun places to be. I’m not bullshitting you. The locker room is off the charts. You will not find a better locker room than New England. Because everybody ‘hates Bill,’ supposedly, but realistically everybody respects what he’s doing and he expects everybody to do their job.”
The key-phrase here is “once” Wilson got comfortable. It highlights the complexity of being a rookie under Belichick. Moore was put through the ringer constantly with his coaches. He said that they put him through “mind-tests” which was more about the coaches being jerks than actual hazing.
“My mental capacity and my mental space? I was just maxed out.”
Moore would also get into arguments with his position coach Josh Boyer all the time. All this quickly took over Moore’s mental health. He didn’t want to be there anymore, and in fact, he wanted to be cut after a certain point.
“I was depressed. I was trying to fight my way out of it.”
In the end, he got what he wanted as the Pats released him a few months later. However, his short tenure there had already taken its toll. Moore didn’t know if he wanted to or even could continue with this life.
What Did Moore Do After His Stint With The Patriots?
Moore somehow worked himself on to the Colts roster in 2017. Given the opportunity to play, he did not disappoint. In 2018, he started 15 games, and he had three interceptions, 11 passes defended, and 63 solo tackles. Those numbers gave him a four year, $33.3 million contract, a dream come true especially considering his time with the Patriots.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Moore either. 2019 saw him deal with massive injuries. These injuries brought back Moore’s lack of passion and complex relationship with the game. It was starting to feel like New England all over again.
“I wasn’t even happy. I was pretty much going through the motions.”
However, a full year later, Moore would have one his best season by far. He notched career highs of four interceptions, 13 passes defended, and 68 solo hits. Moore even believed he belonged in the Pro Bowl along with Stephon Gilmore and Jaire Alexander.
“Jaire Alexander? I’m just like him. Stephon Gilmore? I’m an underrated Gilmore. I’m an underrated Jaire. People want to compare me to them, but they’ve gotta be compared to me, too.”
Additionally, Moore may have had one of the greatest interceptions you’ve EVER seen this past year.
Kenny Moore — one of the most underrated players in all of football — just made one of the best one-handed interceptions you’ll see.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 13, 2020
What’s Next For Kenny Moore?
Moore has had to overcome a lot in his life. His time with the Patriots, his injuries, and even the fact that his dad wasn’t a major player in his life story.
However, Moore has endured, and he’s always come back stronger than ever. For now, Moore is ready for whatever comes his way. He’s found a home with the Colts, a place where he doesn’t feel like he’s at the military.
Moore is quickly turning into a star in this league, and on the Colts’ vaunted defense, he’s sure to rise up. Playing alongside veteran Xavier Rhoades has taught Moore a lot about the game, and that’ll continue as Rhoades re-signed with the Colts on a one year deal.
Moore is no where near being done writing his story. It takes courage for a person to come out and share their story the way Moore did, but it all goes to show you the kind of person he really is. If you haven’t heard of Kenny Moore’s name before, get familiar with it. He’s about to show everyone what kind of a player he really is.
“There’s no stopping me,” he says. “I’m going to continue where I left off, trying to be all that I can be. I live in the present. Whatever you see, is going to be 123 percent Kenny Moore II.”