"It was false," Aaron Dobson maintained.
According to a report in The Boston Globe this week, the Patriots second-year wide receiver's healthy scratches the past two games have been "because he has had at least one loud disagreement with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels."
"We actually have a really great relationship, to tell you the truth," Dobson continued. "It wasn't awkward for me at all. It was just a rumor. I had no reason to feel awkward in any way with my coaches or anything. I really didn't realize the story got so big until maybe after practice yesterday. I was at work all day."
The wideout spoke to reporters just a short time after his head coach had come to his defense.
During his Friday morning press briefing, Bill Belichick took a question about whether Dobson's deactivations against Oakland and Kansas City were for football (on-field-performance-related) or disciplinary reasons.
"Football," he stated flatly.
When another reporter asked directly if there was a confrontation between the receiver and offensive coordinator, Belichick responded, "You know, no, and I'll have a comment on that later."
It was unusual for Belichick to take such a tack with a question, but indeed, later in the day Friday, he issued the following statement:
"In my year and a half with Aaron Dobson, he has always been respectful to me and to the rest of the coaching staff. He has never once been argumentative or confrontational. The suggestion and reporting that his playing time was in any way the result of a 'loud disagreement' with a coach is completely false."
Dobson was thankful for his coach's support, telling reporters after practice, "I feel like [Belichick] has my back with that statement. I'm glad he said what he said. I'm just ready to move on and focus on Cincinnati."
Check out photos of Patriots practice and media access leading up to New England's week five game against the Bengals.
Dobson acknowledged that he was disappointed not to have suited up for three of the first four games of 2014 (he missed the opener at Miami as well), after missing most of the preseason recovering from offseason surgery on his left foot.
"It's always frustrating, you know, but I'm just doing what I can do and controlling what I can control, and that's what I'm doing in practice – taking advantage of the opportunities I'm getting.
"I'm just going to go out there and play football, let everything take care of itself," Dobson concluded. "I'm feeling good. I'm excited about this game coming up on Sunday Night Football."
Whether or not Dobson is active for the Bengals game on Sunday night in Foxborough, though, remains to be seen. Belichick was characteristically circumspect with regard to Dobson's status for Sunday.
"We'll do what we think is best for the game," he said, "just like we always do."
Once again this week, just two players were absent from practice: safety Nate Ebner and rookie o-lineman Cameron Fleming. Both players are dealing with finger injuries sustained at Kansas City.