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Report: Use of drones to film practice in Foxboro and elsewhere draws attention of FAA

06.29.15 at 9:00 am ET
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The FAA is looking into the use of drones by three NFL teams –€” including the Patriots — to film spring practices, according to Bloomberg News.

According to the story, the Federal Aviation Administration has been in contact with Dallas about the use of drones to film practices from different angles this spring, and plans to also get in contact with New England and the New York Giants. It’€™s illegal to fly the unmanned aircraft for any commercial purpose without first getting an FAA waiver, and the FAA says none of the three teams have exemptions or provided evidence that the drones were being operated by someone with permission.

Asked last month what advantage drone footage might provide, Patriots coach Bill Belichick simply said: “I don’€™t know.”

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett sounded enthusiastic about using the new technology when reporters asked him about it last month.

“We pride ourselves on coaching and teaching our players as well as we can and film has been a big part of the game for a long time,”€ Garrett told reporters. “Typically you have an end zone shot and a sideline shot. We use a lot of hand-held cameras on the ground. … One of our coaches went down to SMU for their spring practices and saw they were using it. They liked the angle. We got a chance to see it, so we decided to take a look at it.”

Read More: Bill Belichick,

Rutgers still best-represented school on Patriots’ roster

06.29.15 at 7:30 am ET
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Devin McCourty is one of four former Rutgers players on the New England roster. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Devin McCourty is one of four former Rutgers players on the New England roster. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

On the heels of a pre-draft breakdown we did on a look at the Patriots roster by school — and keeping in mind that the New England roster currently sits at 88 players — here’s an updated list as to how the Patriots roster is represented at this stage of the summer. Despite the fact that New England cut loose Tim Wright in the spring, Rutgers still sits atop the list, as four former Scarlet Knights are still part of the Patriots roster. (Jonathan Freeny, Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty and Logan Ryan.) The selection of two Arkansas players in the draft leaves New England with three former Razorbacks, joining a group of colleges tied for second place. And with the addition of second-round pick Jordan Richards and the sudden presence of Tyler Gaffney on the field after a year on the shelf, the Patriots have a trio of Stanford alumni. Here’s the complete list.

4 — Rutgers
3 — Arkansas, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi State, Stanford
2 — Alabama, Bowling Green State, Kent State, Louisiana State, Marshall, Memphis, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Texas Christian, Vanderbilt
1 — Alabama-Birmingham, Appalachian State, Arizona, Auburn, Brown, Cal, Colorado, Concordia-St. Paul, UConn, Eastern Illinois, Florida, Florida A&M, Florida International, Fresno State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana State, Navy, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Syracuse, Tarleton State, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, UCLA, Utah, Washington State, West Alabama, William & Mary, Wisconsin

Report: Several Hall of Fame voters wouldn’t hold Deflategate against Tom Brady

06.28.15 at 10:43 pm ET
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A handful of voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame say that Tom Brady‘s potential involvement in the Deflategate scandal won’t impact his chances to get to Canton.

In this story from SI.com, Richard Deitsch spoke with eight current voters, and all of them pretty much say the same thing — unless new evidence comes to light that might directly implicate Brady in the scandal, the quarterback will have little trouble getting into the Hall of Fame, likely on the first ballot.

Voters polled by Deitsch include Bob Glauber of Newday, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, and Mike Sando and Jim Trotter of ESPN. Trotter perhaps offered the strongest endorsement of Brady, saying that “Brady’s greatness isn’t about the air pressure in a football; it’s about the competitive drive in his heart.”

He added: “My evaluation of Brady for the Hall of Fame hasn’t changed at all. If he were listed on the ballot today, he’d get my vote without hesitation. It’s arguable whether any quarterback has consistently done more with less than Brady.”

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

Read More: Deflategate, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Tom Brady,

Report: Don’t expect Tom Brady Deflategate appeal ruling for a while

06.28.15 at 2:46 pm ET
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Fans are still waiting and hoping NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell will free Tom Brady of his suspension. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fans are still waiting and hoping NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell will free Tom Brady of his suspension. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

It doesn’t look like the Patriots or Tom Brady will get an answer on the appeal of the quarterback’s four-game suspension until well after the July 4 holiday.

Brady attended all 10 hours of his hearing on Tuesday in New York City. The next step is the filing of post-hearing briefs, which are expected to be filed late this week.

According to multiple reports, Brady testified under oath during the proceedings on Tuesday before Roger Goodell, likely setting the table for a federal court appeal/injunction down the road, should Goodell not rule favorably for the Patriots quarterback.

What happens next?

After the post-hearing briefs this week, Goodell would have enough information to proceed and making his ruling. That’s not expected until sometime after the holiday weekend. Goodell would presumably need time to digest these briefs and then make a decision to keep, reduce or eliminate the four-game suspension altogether.

How long?

Well, that depends on who you read and listen to.

“I don’€™t know what the timetable is. I think we put in a very compelling case,” said Jeffrey Kessler, Brady’s attorney hired for this case.

Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reported Friday that it would be some point “thereafter.” Garafolo suggested that means sometime in mid-to-late July.

“NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would need some time to digest these briefs and then make a decision to either keep or lighten the four-game suspension,” Garafolo wrote.

ESPN’s John Clayton indicated this weekend that it would be closer to the start of camp in late July.

Read More: Brady appeal, Deflategate, Jeffrey Kessler, New England Patriots

Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders: Patriots shouldn’t be Super Bowl champs because of Deflategate

06.25.15 at 10:20 pm ET
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Emmanuel Sanders has some issues with the Patriots. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Emmanuel Sanders has some issues with the Patriots. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Denver’€™s Emmanuel Sanders left no doubt where he stands on the topic of Deflategate. The Broncos wide receiver, speaking with kids at a football camp in Colorado, said he was “kind of mad’€” about what happened, and that the Patriots shouldn’€™t have won the title.

“Am I mad about Deflategate?” Sanders said, answering a question from a young camper. “I feel like I’m on ESPN with that question. … Yeah, yeah, I’m kind of mad. I don’t think that they should be the Super Bowl champion this year.

“You aren’t supposed to cheat. Cheating is not good, especially when you’ve got guys who are working they’re butts off for 365 days out of the year and one person cheats — whether it helps them win the Super Bowl or not, they still cheated and shouldn’t be a champion.”

Adding another layer to this story is the fact that the Patriots heavily courted Sanders in 2013. They signed the former Pittsburgh wide receiver to an offer sheet, only to see him return to the Steelers after Pittsburgh matched the deal. The 28-year-old signed with the Broncos prior to the start of the 2014 season, and had 101 catches for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns last season with Denver.

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

Read More: Deflategate, Emmanuel Sanders,

NFLPA files complaint against Patriots for Malcolm Butler OTA discipline

06.25.15 at 12:18 pm ET
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Cornerback Malcolm Butler made the biggest play of his life when he picked off Russell Wilson in the final moments of Super Bowl XLIX. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Cornerback Malcolm Butler made the biggest play of his life when he picked off Russell Wilson in the final moments of Super Bowl XLIX. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

There’s more off the field news involving the Patriots and it has nothing to do with Tom Brady or deflated footballs.

The NFL Players Association has filed a formal grievance against the Patriots for keeping Malcolm Butler off the fields for two weeks during non-mandatory organized team activity practices, according to Randy Scott of ESPN.

Butler acknowledged missing the first two weeks of practice on the field (six practices) before returning in June for the final week of OTAs and being on hand for June minicamp.

The discipline came after he reportedly missed a flight the night before the team’€™s first OTA session. Head coach Bill Belichick then decided to keep the Super Bowl XLIX hero out of practice.

The Herald’s Jeff Howe first reported that the Patriots were disciplining Butler for missing his flight and being late to the first day of OTAs. Shortly thereafter reports came out that the NFLPA was investigating Belichick and the Patriots for their disciplinary action against Butler.

Article 21, Section 5(a) of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement reads that voluntary OTA workouts cannot be treated as mandatory. Therefore, punishing Butler for not being in attendance could theoretically be a team violation.

Neither Belichick nor Butler would provide details of the absences from OTAs, leaving the door open for the team to say that Butler was actually preparing in the classroom and weight room but just not prepared to go onto the field. Butler did confirm that he was indeed taking part in team activities but just not on the field.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Malcolm Butler, minicamp, New England Patriots

Bill Belichick makes donation to Ohio’s Hiram College

06.25.15 at 7:00 am ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick has given a gift to Ohio’s Hiram College, where his parents met in the 1940s.

According to this story, the amount of Belichick’s gift has not been disclosed, but three areas were targeted to honor the areas where the couple made an impact, the college said: the Coach Steve Belichick Olympic Training Center, the Jeannette Munn Belichick Reading Room and the Jeannette Munn Belichick Endowed Fund.

The gift is the second that Belichick has made to a local college in honor of his parents — the Patriots coach gave an undisclosed gift to Case Western Reserve University last year to create the 4,500-square-foot Steve Belichick Weight Room in the Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center.

Read More: Bill Belichick,
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