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Nothing to see from Tom Brady’s press conference, QB is fine

01.18.17 at 2:33 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There was something noticeably different from Tom Brady at his Wednesday press conference.

He was short and serious. Questions that would typically get long, drawn out answers only got one or two line responses. Because this was so out of the norm for him, many wondered if there was something wrong with him from a health perspective.

“You sound a bit raspy – are you feeling OK?,” a reporter asked.

“I’m good,” Brady replied.

There was nothing to see from the nearly 10-minute press conference. It was simply a case of the quarterback being in playoff football mode and not wanting any distractions. Bill Belichick was more serious than normal in his press conference right before Brady and the quarterback was just following his coach.

While some may think there’s something wrong with Brady, there’s not. It’s playoff football.

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Tom Brady doesn’t know why some people don’t like the Patriots

01.18.17 at 2:07 pm ET
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Tom Brady has gotten under the skin of some of his opponents. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady has gotten under the skin of some of his opponents. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Mike Tomlin was caught on camera disparaging the Patriots after Pittsburgh’s divisional playoff win over the Chiefs. Former Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie used the same language about Tom Brady in 2011 before a playoff showdown with New York.

Asked why this has happened on multiple occasions Wednesday, the Patriots quarterback shrugged.

“I don’t know,” he said.

Admittedly, the incidents are few and far between. Prior to Brady’s Wednesday press conference, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he had nothing but respect for Brady and the Patriots.

“They’re the gold standard,” Roethlisberger said on a conference call with the New England media. “They’re the best. They’re awesome. A lot of teams try and look at their blueprint and their recipe for success, and I think try and do what they do.”
Roethlisberger was asked if he believed there was some resentment around the league toward the Patriots.

“Nope,” he said. “Not at all.”

For what it’s worth, Brady was equally complimentary toward Roethlisberger.

“Ben [Roethlisberger] is an incredible player, and he’s been that way since 2004 when he came into the league. I’ve always loved the way he plays, very tough, hard-nosed,” Brady said. “He’s just been a great player. I think the respect is very mutual. To play at his level for as long as he has and with his style of play has been remarkable.”

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Read More: antonio cromartie, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin, Tom Brady

Bill Belichick downplays hype for AFC championship game as only he can

01.18.17 at 1:59 pm ET
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FOXBORO — While most of New England is fired up for the sixth straight AFC title game for the Patriots, Bill Belichick is not.

Belichick walked into the media room for his Wednesday press conference to see the largest crowd of the season.

“SRO” (Standing Room Only) he said when taking to the podium and was more serious and less expansive than usual in his nearly 15-minute presser.

A reporter noted to him that the Lamar Hunt trophy was next to him in between a Patriots helmet and a Steelers helmet.

“I know. So exciting,” Belichick dead-panned, but drew laughter from the room.

It wasn’t funny to him, as he is all business this week.

The coach was also asked if he has any reaction to commissioner Roger Goodell attending the NFC championship game and not the Patriots game at Gillette Stadium.

Again, Belichick answered in typical Belichick-fashion.

“I’m focused on the Steelers,” he said.

If one thing is for sure, Belichick and the Patriots are extremely focused on the task at hand this week and will not be distracted by anything.

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Mike Tomlin ’embarrassed’ at way he dressed down Patriots

01.18.17 at 1:58 pm ET
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Mike Tomlin addressed Antonio Brown's video on Tuesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Mike Tomlin addressed Antonio Brown’s video on Tuesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

With the chance to clarify his untoward comments about the Patriots in his post-game address to his team Sunday night, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he would take those words back if he knew they were going to be public.

“I was embarrassed by the language,” Tomlin told reporters in a conference call Wednesday. “I take my role as a role model and the platform that we have in the National Football League, very seriously. As a parent, I’m just not into public displays of that type of language. So I was more embarrassed about that element of it, not necessarily the content or the message in the video.”

Did those words express true feelings about the Patriots?

“Man, you’ve could’ve applied that sentiment to any opponent,” Tomlin said. “You could’ve made that tape two weeks earlier [against the Dolphins] and applied it to that opponent. It’s not about the nameless, gray faces that we play for us, it’s about our overall readiness and preparation. And that was the sentiment of the message that was I sending to the guys, not necessarily about the New England Patriots. They just happen to be who we’re playing this week.”

In that video posted by Antonio Brown on Facebook, Tomlin made reference to the fact that the Patriots had head start on the Steelers in their preparation for the AFC championship this Sunday, made more difficult by the fact that the Steelers were playing on the road on Sunday night.

Tomlin was asked if the time change last Sunday has been difficult to compensate for this week.

“It’s not necessarily something to make up,” Tomlin said. “I was just trying to instill a sense of urgency in the group regarding our preparation. And I wanted them to understand that we didn’t have a lot of time to pat ourselves on the back, based on the performance of the last game. We needed to transition, and transition quickly and start the preparation process, whether it was actual preparation or just from a mentality standpoint.”

Back in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Tomlin said that he regrets that Brown posted the video and sent a thinly veiled message to his star receiver that that kind of behavior is the kind of thing that can start a trend of moving from team to team, even for a player of Brown’s caliber.

“I think time always tells those stories,” Tomlin said Wednesday.

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Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell among those present at Patriots practice

01.18.17 at 1:39 pm ET
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All active roster players were present at practice on Wednesday. (

All active roster players were present at practice on Wednesday. (

FOXBORO — Things are off to a good start for the Patriots this week from a health perspective.

After Chris Hogan spoke in the locker room on Tuesday, he and Malcolm Mitchell were at Patriots practice Wednesday on the lower grass field behind Gillette Stadium in the rain.

In fact, all active roster players were present for the session held in full pads.

There were two players missing: practice squad tight end Glenn Gronkowski and defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton.

Hogan left Saturday’s game with the Texans due to a thigh injury, while Mitchell has missed the last two games with a knee injury.

The first injury report of the week is due out later in the afternoon.

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LeGarrette Blount feeling ‘good’ heading into AFC championship game against Steelers

01.18.17 at 1:36 pm ET
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LeGarrette Blount appears to be feeling better this week than he did last week. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

LeGarrette Blount appears to be feeling better this week than he did last week. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — LeGarrette Blount sounded an optimistic note about his health before practice on Wednesday.

After spending much of the week leading up to the divisional playoff win on the injury report with what was described as an illness, the veteran back saw a decrease in his usual workload Saturday against Houston with just eight carries for 31 yards. (It was a stark contrast to what he did earlier in the year against the Texans, when he had 24 carries for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns.)

But when he met the media on Wednesday afternoon, Blount sounded an upbeat note.

“I’m good,” he said before practice on Wednesday. “I’m good.”

Bell wasn’t in much of a mood to talk about his own health, but opened up on his feelings about teammate Dion Lewis and old pal Le’Veon Bell.

“He’s a very dynamic player. Obviously, really hard to tackle in space,” Blount said of Lewis. “He’s been playing tremendous for us.

“The size of his heart, his will to win. His will to continue to fight, despite the obstacles in front of him, is unmatched,” Blount added of his teammate, who had three touchdowns in the victory over the Texans. “He does a lot of things well for us. He does everything we ask him to do, with no questions asked. And he does everything he has to do to make sure he puts himself in the best position to take full advantage of the opportunities he gets.”

Blount and Bell are good friends, and the two were briefly teammates together in Pittsburgh. Blount marveled at Bell’s patient running style, saying that he’s “never seen anyone” run like Bell.

“I’ve never seen anyone do that, to be honest, and be as effective with it as he is,” Blount said. “It’s just something that he does. It’s his style. That’s all I can really say about it.”

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Lou Merloni on OM&F: ‘There’s no way Tom Brady will be MVP’ of Super Bowl

01.18.17 at 11:57 am ET
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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Love a good conspiracy theory, Patriots fans? Lou Merloni’s got one for you.

Speaking on OM&F on Wednesday, Merloni said what a lot of Patriots fans are probably thinking — the NFL is not going to let Tom Brady win the MVP of Super Bowl 51, even if the Patriots romp, because the league does not want to deal with the spectacle of commissioner Roger Goodell handing Brady the award the day after the game.

“What about the MVP trophy?” Merloni asked. “There’s no way Tom Brady will be the MVP of that game, if they win. It’ll go to Julian Edelman. It’ll go to Dion Lewis. It will go to Trey Flowers. It’ll go to Patrick Freaking Chung before it goes to Tom Brady.”

The Super Bowl MVP is voted on by a panel of 16 writers and broadcasters after the game, as well as in an online/texting vote of fans during the game. The writer/broadcaster ballots are weighted 80 percent and fans the other 20. The league does not technically have a say in the result, but after the way the league conducted itself during Deflategate, there are sure to be questions raised if Brady is not rewarded for a big game.

Of course, the Patriots must get through the Steelers first, but it’s food for thought.

Read More: Lou Merloni, MVP award, OMF, Patriots
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