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Antonio Brown: Malcolm Butler ‘puts hands on you like no other’ cornerback

01.21.17 at 9:00 am ET
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Antonio Brown and Malcolm Butler have had some battles in the past. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Antonio Brown and Malcolm Butler have had some battles in the past. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Antonio Brown is ready for a battle on Sunday.

The Pittsburgh wide receiver, who was the subject of so much talk over the course of the week because of his now infamous Facebook Live video after the Steelers win over the Chiefs, also actually had time to talk about Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots.

Anticipating a showdown against Malcolm Butler, Brown said he “had a lot of respect for” Butler.

“He’s a follow-type corner — he’s going to be there,” Brown said of Butler. “I’m excited about having that opportunity.

“Butler finishes to the ball. He puts hands on you like no other.”

Brown noted that the Patriots have a secondary that likes to be a little aggressive.

“Those guys use their hands — they play to the ball,” Brown said. “They’re a great group. They work together. Bill Belichick is a great coach. He has developed some great schemes to help those guys, and it puts them in perfect position.”

While he addressed all the fallout from the video, he was asked about the video being used as some sort of motivation.

“This is the championship game; what other motivation do you need?” he asked. “This is what we’ve worked for all year. This is what I spent the whole offseason for, waking up from the season where I missed the final game because of a concussion, and putting my mind to this.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Antonio Brown, Bill Belichick, Malcolm Butler,

An ‘anxious’ Tom Brady ready for the ‘big build-up’ to Sunday: ‘Hopefully, we’re up for it’

01.20.17 at 5:50 pm ET
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FOXBORO — For Tom Brady, there’s a fine line between being nervous and simply being anxious for a big game.

For the 11th time in his career, the Patriots quarterback will be playing Sunday night for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. He is 6-4 as a starter in the previous ten trips.

At Gillette Stadium, Brady has been beaten just once in five previous AFC championship games.

Brady was asked if, at the age of 39, he still feels nervous in the hours and days before taking the field for a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

“No, I think you just get anxious for games, because there is a big build-up to them and you prepare pretty hard,” Brady said. “So, you finally get out there and play, because you feel like you’ve built up the whole week on the practice field and you’ve talked about a lot of situations and you’ve just got to see how they play out. I think it’s just more anxiousness.”

Brady has certainly played his fair share of physical defenses, from the Jets and Bart Scott to the Ravens and Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs to the Broncos and Von Miller. Now, it’s James Harrison, Bud Dupree, Lawrence Timmons and Stephon Tuitt and the Steelers who will be getting after Brady.

If Brady has proven anything this season, he can take a hit and still execute. Even last week, while taking a beating from Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus and throwing a pair of interceptions, he managed to stand in the pocked and fire a pair of touchdown passes.

Is there anything that intimidates Brady?

“I don’t know if intimidate is the word. I think you always go into the game understanding what gets you beat and cautious of the things they do well,” Brady said Friday. “I don’t think it’s necessarily intimidation. I think what helps you win and lose is really good performance and execution and so forth.”

As for his teammates, Brady is not worried about his teammates being mentally ready for Sunday.

“I think a lot of guys know how to get ready to go, and coach does a good job of preparing them,” Brady said. “I think part of the veteran responsibility is to let some of those guys know anything that you might know as a player, or feel as a player going into a big game like this. So, you try to convey those messages over the course of the week of practice, and basically all the time. Wherever you are you try to let other guys know some of your experiences and how to deal with them. But a lot of people ask questions, and some people take the information and retain it and others don’t. So, you just try to do the best you can do.

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Read More: AFC Championship, New England Patriots, nfl, Pittsburgh Steelers

Patriots list 7 players as questionable for AFC championship

01.20.17 at 4:21 pm ET
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Malcolm MItchell is among seven Patriots played questionable for the AFC title game. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm MItchell is among seven Patriots played questionable for the AFC title game. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — There are no surprises on the final injury report of the week for the Patriots.

It has been the same all week, as seven players were limited in every session and seven players are questionable for the game.

While the flu bug has been going around the Pittsburgh locker room this week, they only have three players on the final injury report — all listed as questionable.

Here is the final injury report for both teams.

Patriots

QUESTIONABLE

WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
DE Jabaal Sheard (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)

Steelers

QUESTIONABLE

TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

Read More: Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell,

Tom Brady on President Trump saying QB called him Thursday night: ‘Let’s talk about football’

01.20.17 at 2:44 pm ET
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FOXBORO — On Thursday night, the night before taking office, President Donald Trump mentioned Tom Brady at a donor’s dinner while acknowledging Patriots owner Robert Kraft being in attendance.

“He’s got a great quarterback named Tom Brady, and a great coach named [Bill] Belichick, Bob Kraft,” Trump said. “So good luck, Bob. Your friend Tom just called, he feels good. He called to congratulate us, he feels good. Good luck. You’re going to do great things.”

On Friday morning, Bill Belichick responded by saying he was focused on football.

Brady was then asked about the remarks Friday afternoon.

“I don’t have much to say,” he said.

“Did you call him?” a reporter followed-up with.

“Did I call him? … Let’s just talk about football,” Brady said.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Donald Trump, Tom Brady,

Report: Chip Kelly meets with Bill Belichick

01.20.17 at 1:07 pm ET
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Bill Belichick and Chip Kelly have been buddies for years. (John Geliebter/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick and Chip Kelly have been buddies for years. (John Geliebter/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick met with Chip Kelly after Kelly didn’t get the job as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Kelly, who has a longstanding friendship with Belichick, was recently fired as head coach of the Niners. Schefter didn’t elaborate as to what the meeting between the two might have been about, but Belichick has sought out friends who have been fired in the past, a group that includes Greg Schiano.

One thing that seems fairly certain is that he’s not coming to New England to serve as offensive coordinator; Schefter said the meeting took place after Josh McDaniels reaffirmed his commitment to the Patriots after interviewing for other head coaching jobs.

Kelly has served as the coach of the 49ers, Eagles and Oregon Ducks. A native of New Hampshire, he coached at UNH from 1994 to 2006.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chip Kelly, Josh McDaniels,

Jamie Collins is about to get paid by the Browns, does this impact Dont’a Hightower?

01.20.17 at 12:46 pm ET
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Jamie Collins reportedly will sign a contract extension with the Browns. (Scott R. Galvin/USA Today Sports)

Jamie Collins reportedly will sign a contract extension with the Browns. (Scott R. Galvin/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — It doesn’t look like Jamie Collins will be hitting free agency.

According to multiple reports, the Browns and Collins are close to agreeing on a multi-year contract extension. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport adds the contract will eclipse the per-year salary of Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly of $12.36 million.

This will make Collins one of the top five paid linebackers in the NFL.

Collins was traded to the Browns on October 31 of last year.

How does this relate to the Patriots? It could impact impending free agent Dont’a Hightower’s next contract.

By all indications, the Patriots have made it a priority to re-sign Hightower. With the team trading away both Chandler Jones and Collins, the linebacker is the biggest name left with the Patriots who will be a free agent after this season. Based on the other linebackers — Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Shea McClellin — the team cannot afford to lose Hightower.

Based off the Patriots keeping Hightower, it indicates they value him more than Collins, and Hightower could use that against the Patriots saying he should receive more money.

It will be something to monitor once the season wraps up and free agency hits.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins,

Tedy Bruschi to serve as honorary captain for Patriots in AFC championship

01.20.17 at 12:27 pm ET
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Tedy Bruschi was the honorary captain in the last AFC championship game played at Gillette Stadium. (Richard Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Tedy Bruschi was the honorary captain in the last AFC championship game played at Gillette Stadium. (Richard Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — The Patriots could have some good luck on their side Sunday afternoon.

Former linebacker Tedy Bruschi will serve as honorary captain for the Patriots for the AFC championship game. He’s served as honorary captain eight times since the start of 2009 and the team is 8-0 in those games.

“With an undefeated record in games that we have honored him, I can’t think of a more perfect player to serve as honorary captain this Sunday,” owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “He was called the perfect Patriot by head coach Bill Belichick, and he has lived up to that nickname with an 8-0 record in games where he has been a part of a Patriots celebration.”

Bruschi was an honorary captain in both the AFC championship and Super Bowl the last time the Patriots won the Super Bowl in the 2014 season.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Tedy Bruschi,
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