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Bill Belichick on LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch: ‘We have a few guys who aren’t quite ready to go yet’

07.30.15 at 10:36 am ET
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Bill Belichick addresses reporters before start of training camp Thursday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick addresses reporters before start of training camp Thursday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — It’s hot and humid this week in Foxboro. The perfect conditioning weather for Bill Belichick as training camp begins.

Belichick made reference to that Thursday morning, in his press conference at Gillette Stadium before the first practice of camp.

“Get off to good start here in training camp,” Belichick said. “I think, overall, the team, for the most part, is in pretty good condition based on what we saw [Wednesday] and the previous couple of days before that. We’ll see how it goes when we get into a regular type practice later on in the week.”

Hopefully by then, Belichick and the Patriots will have the services of running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive lineman Alan Branch and offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann, all of whom were placed on the non-football injury list Wednesday after the team’s conditioning run. Belichick hinted Thursday that those three didn’t pass the test on the field with the rest of the team.

“We have a few guys who aren’t quite ready to go yet,” Belichick said. “We’ll take those guys day-by-day and see how that turns out.”

Players keep taking the test until they pass.

“It’s always good to everybody out there on the field. Looks like we have a nice warm week so it’ll be good for us out there,” Belichick said of the rest of the team.

Then there’s the matter of players on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Linebackers Jerod Mayo (patellar tendon) and Dont’a Hightower (labrum), special teams captain Matthew Slater, defensive lineman Dominique Easley (knees) and defensive end Chandler Jones all missed time during OTAs and minicamp.

“We have a lot of guys that are in different [situations],” Belichick said. “Each individual is different. We’ve talked to all the players who are in various stages of rehabilitation. Some guys are able to do some things. Some guys are able to less than that or different things. Lower body injuries, upper body injuries, so forth and so on. Each guy is different. Each situation is different.

“We treat them all individually and try to do the best we can for each individual player based on his situation, his injury, his experience, the position he plays and so forth. So there’s really not a standard for anybody. I’ve spoken with all of those guys and we’ve talked about what our plan is and we’ll go with that and see how it goes. Maybe we’ll be on it, maybe we’ll have to alter it. It’s pretty common. We’ve coached a lot of players and been through a lot of these situations. Just take it individually.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots,

Jeffrey Kessler: NFLPA angered by way NFL portrayed destruction of Tom Brady cell phone

07.30.15 at 10:05 am ET
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Tom Brady and the NFLPA hired attorney Jeffrey Kessler to represent him in court as the attorney has a history of beating the NFL in court.

Kessler isn’t pleased with the way the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell portrayed Brady destroying his cell phone.

“It’€™s just grasping at straws to try to divert attention from their complete lack of evidence or legal process to justify what’€™s happened here,” Kessler told USA Today. “You heard the outrage today from Mr. Kraft. That was completely justified. I’€™ve never more agreed with Robert Kraft in my life, about anything.”

The attorney doesn’t understand why the case is now not focused on the science, but now limited to Brady’s phone.

“The NFL has made no claim that somehow they’€™re missing something,” Kessler said. “They made this argument, ‘€˜Well, maybe if they looked at his phone, they’€™d find some incriminating e-mail like from Tom to his father.’€™ Really? That’€™s what they’€™re arguing about?”

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

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,

Report: Minnesota judge orders NFLPA, Tom Brady lawsuit to be transferred to Manhattan

07.30.15 at 9:35 am ET
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This is not good news for Tom Brady.

According to Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, a Minnesota judge has ordered the NFLPA lawsuit over Brady be transferred to Manhattan, which is where the NFL filed.

It’s not good news as Minnesota has been known to be labor-friendly, but instead it appears the case will be heard in New York.

U.S. district judge Richard Kyle wrote: “The court appreciates no “compelling circumstances” undermining application of the first-filed rule to transfer this action from Minnesota to New York, where the first action was filed. Indeed, the Court sees little reason for this action to have commenced in Minnesota at all. Brady plays for a team in Massachusetts; the Union is headquartered in Washington D.C.; the NFL is headquarted in New York; the arbitration proceedings took place in New York; and the award was issued in New York. In the undersigned view, therefore, it makes eminent sense the NFL would have commenced its action seeking confirmation of the award in the Southern District of New York.”

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

Read More: Deflategate,

Adam Schefter on D&C: Robert Kraft’s words ‘carry a message’ as league office knows he’s ‘not happy’

07.30.15 at 9:05 am ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the latest with Tom Brady and what Robert Kraft’s statement meant Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The biggest story from Wednesday was Robert Kraft coming out swinging against the league and Roger Goodell with the way the Deflategate case has been handled. Schefter said it would have been tough for Kraft to take this to court and go against the league, which is likely why back in May he accepted the penalties against the team.

Schefter said Kraft’s message is loud and clear now.

“I think part of the reason he didn’t go to court before and part of the reason why he accepted his punishment was because he had a lack of recourse at that point in time,” Schefter said. “It was not a CBA that protected him. There was not something that said he could take this to court. It’s not what you want to do in any particular case, maybe you succeed, maybe you prevail, maybe you don’t. You bloody your partner. Not worth it to him at that point in time. Not with the relationship that he had there. He fell on his sword there.

“Now, I think his words carry a message. The people in New York know he’s not happy. I think there’s a lot on the line here. Somebody in the end here is going to look very bad. Even if the NFL wins this court case, they still lose because they’ve basically beaten up their favorite son (Tom Brady), their poster child. When the poster child of the sport has just got abused here the last six months. Even if you win in court, what do you win there by doing that to a guy who you’ve alienated from the league for the rest of his life. … Come to the Super Bowl, make an appearance — that’s never happening again.”

Schefter said the whole thing has been botched from the start.

“Here’s the amazing part, this was not some regional game like New England-Jacksonville. This is the AFC championship game where the league has 30 representatives in New England for the game,” he said. “The day before you can call New England and say look, ‘We’ve got complaints about this. We want to let you know that we’re going to be checking and monitoring this. If there’s any funny business, there’s going to be a steep price to pay.’ That didn’t happen. That goes to my initial point. This little brush fire, we allowed this to burn down the whole house.”

“This whole thing that was a little brush fire, has been allowed to turn into an inferno,” he added. “This whole inconsequential situation about air pressure has dominated news headlines for months. It’s staggering to me that his could happen. That people allowed this to happen.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more visit, weei.com/patriots.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adam schefter, Deflategate, Robert Kraft, Tom Brady

Report: LeGarrette Blount fails conditioning test

07.30.15 at 8:52 am ET
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FOXBORO — The summer is not off to a great start for LeGarrette Blount.

The Patriots running back failed Wednesday’s team-mandated conditioning test before the start of camp after completing just 12 of 20 runs, according to the Boston Globe.

Blount was one of three Patriots to be placed on the non-football injury list Wednesday, along with defensive lineman Alan Branch and Caylin Hauptmann. As WEEI.com’s Chris Price noted, this is not unusual at the start of camp for players who either fail a conditioning test or a physical.

Blount was suspended one game by the NFL for his role in a drug-related vehicle stop with then-Steelers teammate Le’Veon Bell last summer. Blount is expected to miss the season opener against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium.

Read More: Alan Branch, LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots,

NFLPA files appeal in Minnesota court to force Roger Goodell to lift Tom Brady’s 4-game ban

07.29.15 at 7:41 pm ET
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The NFLPA filed an appeal Wednesday on behalf of Tom Brady in U.S. District Court of Minnesota to vacate the four-game suspension upheld by commissioner Roger Goodell based on the following points, directly from their press release.

— There was no direct evidence in the Wells Report so the discipline was based on a made up “general awareness” standard to justify such absurd and unprecedented punishment.

— Roger Goodell delegated his disciplinary authority to Troy Vincent, violating our Collective Bargaining Agreement, and then as the “arbitrator,” he ruled on his own improper delegation, botching basic arbitration law and fundamental fairness.

— A collectively bargained policy already exists regarding tampering with equipment that provides only for fines, not suspensions. Troy Vincent ignored this policy when he issued his initial discipline. The policy that Vincent did apply to Brady only covers teams and team executives, not players. The NFL once again violated players’ right to advance notice of discipline to try to justify unprecedented punishment.

— No player in NFL history has served a suspension for “non-cooperation” or “obstruction.”  And, in this case, the evidence is paper-thin.

— The appeals hearing held on June 23, 2015 defied any concept of fundamental fairness and violated the principles of our CBA.

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

Read More: Deflategate, NFLPA, roger goodell,

Patriots place 3 on NFI list, including running back LeGarrette Blount

07.29.15 at 5:57 pm ET
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LeGarrette Blount was placed on the NFI list Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount was placed on the NFI list Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

The Patriots placed running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive lineman Alan Branch and offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann on the non-football injury list on Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire.

No reason was given for the move, but players who have been placed on NFI prior to the start of camp in year’s past have often found themselves there because they have failed the conditioning test and/or their physical. (Players on the non-football injury list are there because they are classified as unable to practice as a result of conditions unrelated to football. They are eligible to return to the practice field at any time.)

In addition, the transaction wire revealed that the Patriots came to terms with exclusive rights free agent James Develin. The fullback has been with New England the last three seasons. And the team officially announced the signing of veteran cornerback Tarell Brown. The 30-year-old Brown is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Niners (2007-13) and Raiders (2014). The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has played in 114 games with 61 starts and has tallied 295 total tackles, 11 interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, 59 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

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

Read More: Alan Branch, Caylin Hauptmann, James Develin, LeGarrette Blount
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