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Pittsburgh RB DeAngelo Williams: ‘I’m glad’ Patriots have their problems

07.21.16 at 9:35 am ET
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DeAngelo Williams does not care about the Patriots' problems. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DeAngelo Williams does not care about the Patriots’ problems. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams doesn’t care who is under center for the Patriots for the first four games of the season.

“I am glad they got problems. I don’t care,” Williams told TribLive when he was asked for his thoughts on what the Patriots are going to do during Tom Brady’s four-game ban. “Everybody has their problems, and I’m glad they have theirs.

“I don’t know why everybody thinks that affects us,” Williams added. “We don’t care. You think [Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger] wants to beat a [Tom] Brady-less team? That proves nothing to him.”

Williams has been an outspoken critic of New England for several years, with one school of thought saying that it goes back to the Patriots’ decision to pass on him in favor of Laurence Maroney in the 2006 draft.

For what it’s worth, Brady is expected to be back at quarterback when the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to meet Williams and the Steelers on Oct. 23.

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Julian Edelman has ‘itch’ to get back on field, has been training to get in ‘football shape’

07.20.16 at 5:38 pm ET
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Julian Edelman is itching to get back on the football field. ( photo)

Julian Edelman is itching to get back on the football field. ( photo)

One of the biggest question marks entering Patriots training camp next week will be if wide receiver Julian Edelman will be on the field.

The wide out had offseason foot surgery after breaking his foot during the year, but did return for the postseason possibly doing more damage to the foot.

Edelman didn’t specifically address his foot, but sounded like a player who has been working hard in the offseason and is ready to get back out on the field with less than a week left in his offseason.

“You enjoy it, but you have the itch to get back,” Edelman said at Fenway Park Wednesday where he took batting practice, including hitting several homers over the Green Monster. “It’s not like you haven’t been doing anything. You’ve been training and get your body and yourself in football shape. That’s kind of where my focus has been.”

Edelman was asked about Tom Brady and him missing the first four games, but he didn’t want to get into it.

“I’m not here to talk about that, I am here to enjoy America’s pastime,” he said.

The Patriots’ first official training camp practice is July 28.

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Video: Julian Edelman hits home run over Green Monster at Fenway Park

07.20.16 at 5:25 pm ET
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was at Fenway Park on Wednesday and took batting practice on the field where he was able to hit several balls over the Green Monster.

“I don’t know, I couldn’t count,” Edelman said. “Six or seven. I think seven.”

Edelman was asked what he was thinking when looking out at the Monster from home plate.

“Taking it down,” he said. “I don’t know. It’s all fun. I played baseball growing up and to get to come out to a big league park and see these guys it puts in perspective how good these guys are. These guys are studs.”

He got advice from longtime friend, Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield, who actually worked Edelman out in Toronto when he was with the Blue Jays. Bench coach Torey Lovullo also gave encouragement from behind the cage.

The wide receiver grew up a Giants fan, but said he’s now a Red Sox fan. He added it will be cool to get to see the teams on opposite coasts and leagues face off.

“I was a Giants fan growing up, Sox fan now,” Edelman said. “This is my NL team. It’s going to be cool to stay here and watch the game. You never really see East Coast versus West Coast like this. It’s going to be a fun game to watch.”

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Forbes: Patriots are second-most valuable NFL team

07.20.16 at 3:14 pm ET
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The Patriots are the second-most valuable NFL team at $3.2 billion, trailing only the Cowboys, according to Forbes.

Overall, New England is ranked as the sixth-most valuable professional sports franchise. Dallas is first at $4 billion, while Real Madrid ($3.65 billion), Barcelona ($3.55 billion), the New York Yankees ($3.4 billion) and Manchester United ($3.32 billion) round out the top 5.

This year, NFL franchises comprise 27 of the top 50, and with the Cowboys on top, it’s the first time a non-soccer club has been ranked No. 1 since 2011.

Per Forbes, this marks the third straight year the Patriots have been second in the NFL list to the Cowboys. Last year, Forbes listed New England as the third-most valuable sports franchise on the planet behind Dallas and Real Madrid.

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Report: Tom Brady second in jersey sales over last three months

07.20.16 at 12:55 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski were among the top five best-selling NFL jerseys over the last three months.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Brady was second, trailing only rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys. Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton were third and fourth, while Gronkowski finished fifth overall.

The totals are based on sales from April 1-June 30 on, the league’s official online site.

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Tom Brady wishes Happy Birthday to ‘love of my life’ Gisele Bundchen on Facebook

07.20.16 at 11:07 am ET
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Tom Brady took to Facebook Wednesday morning to wish his wife Gisele Bundchen a Happy Birthday as she turned 36 years old.

The quarterback wrote: Happy Birthday to the love of my life. May this year be your best and brightest and most fulfilling. We love you!

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Most Important Patriots of 2016: No. 3, Julian Edelman

07.20.16 at 10:05 am ET
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Julian Edelman enjoyed the celebration around the Patriots' most recent Super Bowl title. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman enjoyed the celebration around the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl title. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re looking at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

3. Wide receiver Julian Edelman

Height: 6-foot
Weight: 198 pounds
Age: 30 (will turn 31 on May 22)

Resume: A seventh-round pick out of Kent State in 2009, the former college quarterback has become one of the most trusted receivers Tom Brady has ever had. He impressed as a rookie with 37 catches, but it truly took him a few years to evolve as a receiver. He eventually found his footing in 2013, following the departure of Wes Welker — with the loss of Welker in free agency, the door was open, and Edelman kicked it down. In the last three years, he’s caught 258 passes and 17 touchdowns, one of just nine pass catchers who has topped at least 250 receptions in that stretch. (His career year came in 2013, when he finished with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.) He’s also managed to carve out an impressive career as a punt returner — Edelman has a 12.0 career punt return average, third in the NFL since the 1970 merger. (Only Rick Upchurch and Devin Hester at 12.1 yards per return are better.) In addition, he has four punt returns for touchdowns, most in franchise history.

Why we ranked him here: When it comes to the Patriots, “Minitron” is the latest in a long line of slightly undersized pass catchers who have distinguished themselves as Brady’s favorites for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they usually have an outstanding catch rate, quality yards after the catch and make guys miss on a consistent basis. No one moves the chains quite like Edelman, who has an astounding chemistry with the quarterback that allows him to make plays that no one else on the roster can make. His status will bear watching this summer because he was in and out of a walking boot this offseason, and wasn’t on the field for spring workouts (at least the sessions that were open to the media). From this viewpoint, you can make an argument about Edelman or Rob Gronkowski when it comes to No. 2 vs. No. 3 on this list. But when it comes to overall importance, particularly as it relates to the success of Brady and the New England passing game, Edelman is clearly worthy of a spot in the top 3.

Quote: “He’s always been one of the hardest workers, one of the hardest workers I’ve ever played with [and] one of the most determined young men that’s on this team. And he’s got as much heart as anybody.” — Brady on Edelman, 1/16/16

Random Note: In the last three seasons, Edelman has more regular-season catches than Larry Fitzgerald (254), Calvin Johnson (243) and Jimmy Graham (219).

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