|05.18.15 at 8:13 pm ET|
The general theme over the past week from within the Patriots organization has been support.
Despite the findings of the Wells Report and the penalties that have come down against them, the organization is standing by one another, led by owner Robert Kraft, who voiced his displeasure Monday to MMQB’s Peter King, calling the handling of Deflategate “very disturbing.”
Veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich was another to defend his team, especially quarterback Tom Brady. Ninkovich was speaking prior to his charity event, “Ninko’s Ping Pong Challenge” at Blazing Paddles next to Fenway Park Monday night.
“We all support Tom,” Ninkovich said. “Again, I’ve been with him seven years now. He’s an unbelievable person. He’s an unbelievable competitor. He’s a great person to be around and a great teammate. We all support Tom. From Robert Kraft all the way down, we all support him.”
“For me, we support each other, we’re teammates, we’re all teammates,” he added. “We support each other. It’s just like family. For me, I am going to support my teammates, and I don’t want to get into what was said because I really don’t know, so for me I am here to support my teammates and they are here to support me to raise money for charity and we all support Tom. He’s my teammate. I’ve been with him a long time. He’s a great person.”
“I figured ping pong is a sport we all play, and yes it is a sport, so I figured we’d put that on and try and raise some money,” Ninkovich said.
The money raised from the event, which attracted a number of local stars including, Gronkowski, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Chandler Jones, Stephen Gostkowski, Leon Powe and many more, will benefit the Celebrities For Charity Foundation.
Ninkovich is looking to move on from Deflategate and focus on the 2015 — a season in which he expects the team to have a target on their backs following winning Super Bowl XLIX.
“We have another year to worry about — 2015,” said Ninkovich. “The Patriots always have a target on them for being a very good franchise for a very long time and when you win a Super Bowl that gets bigger. We know the importance of the offseason and working hard. Building a team is now. I’ve done it for awhile.”
|05.18.15 at 8:04 pm ET|
The Patriots and NFL would like nothing more than to end their fight over Deflategate before it ever gets to a hearing before Roger Goodell, or anyone else.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, sources indictate that the team and league are in “back-channel conversations” to see if the two sides can resolve their differences without an appeal or possible litigation following the league’s Deflategate punishment.
From the moment NFL executive Troy Vincent announced a four-game suspension for Tom Brady, in addition to a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft picks, the Patriots have unleashed a powerful defense, including a 20,000-word response to the Wells Report.
While Tom Brady has already hired attorney Jeffrey Kessler and filed his appeal through the NFLPA, the Patriots have until Friday to appeal the loss of a 2016 first-round pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick and their $1 million fine. The Patriots are considering every possible move.
The NFL believes the Wells Report proved the Patriots and Brady broke rules and obstructed the league’s investigation.
Now, as the owners meet in San Francisco, there is a chance Patriots owner Robert Kraft and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could sit down and talk. Both are expected to attend the spring owners’ meetings, which begin Tuesday.
Kraft, who still sounded very angry in speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King The MMQB, was asked whether he would violate NFL bylaws by going to court to try to get the league penalties overturned. He declined to comment, saying only, “I’m not going to comment on that at this point in time. I’m going to leave it. I won’t say.”
|05.18.15 at 7:28 pm ET|
Although speaking very briefly, Julian Edelman showed his support of Patriots owner Robert Kraft standing by the team in wake of Deflategate and the Wells Report findings.
Kraft has put out multiple statements backing the organization and Tom Brady in particular over the past week. Edelman said he expects “nothing less from him.”
“Unbelievable — Mr. Kraft — it’s ran like a family, the organization, I expect nothing less from him,” Edelman said at teammate Rob Ninkovich‘s charity event Monday night, “Ninko’s Ping Pong Challenge” at Blazing Paddles next to Fenway Park. “It’s always great to see everyone sticking together.”
“I love having Mr. Kraft. Like I said, it’s good,” the wide receiver added.
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|05.18.15 at 7:12 pm ET|
Matt Light didn’t hold anything back Monday night speaking at Rob Ninkovich‘s charity event, “Ninko’s Ping Pong Challenge” at Blazing Paddles next to Fenway Park. The former Patriots offensive linemen called everyone out, from Roger Goodell to Boston sports radio hosts.
He is now even looking to turn Deflategate into a positive by having a raffle to benefit The Light Foundation, which strives to instill and augment the values of responsibility, accountability and hard work by providing youth with unique outdoor learning experiences that assist them in reaching their highest potential.
The winner of the raffle wins a seat on a private jet with Light to Indianapolis for the Patriots’ Week 5 matchup with the Colts (Tom Brady‘s first game back if the four-game suspension holds). The winner gets two tickets to the game, a Tom Brady autographed football “inflated to your PSI standards,” among other things. Click here for all the details on the raffle.
“Inflationnationraffle.org and when it is all set and done, if you feel the way I feel about this ridiculous circus that Roger Goodell and the rest of his little buddies in the league office put together … if you think it’s absolutely insane, then side with me and get a chance to come and go to Indianapolis on a private jet,” Light said. “See the game and enjoy the weekend and that’s a wrap. We’re going to turn a circus into something positive. Roger [Goodell], if you’re listening, we may raise enough money to have you attend one of our leadership camps.”
Light wasn’t done there as he ripped into anyone that has questioned the integrity and character of the Super Bowl champs.
“The overall New England nation needs to heal,” he said. “We’ve had crazy things happen. Aside from the fact that we’ve won another championship, like World championship, you guys understand that, right? We won a World championship and we’ve had every single guy on that team called into question when it comes to this — his character, his integrity.
“Here’s the one thing I would leave you with before we get into a real serious debate in the next few weeks: I’ll tell you what, Felger and Mazz, they should be the first ones I call. I would love to just combat the idiocy of those two. If you’re a cheater, right, have you ever seen cheaters put in as much time as Bill and his staff have put in day in and day out?”
|05.18.15 at 4:17 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Monday afternoon that they have released cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, linebacker Cameron Gordon and wide receiver Devin Gardner. The team also announced the signing of linebacker Brandon Spikes. Here’s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:
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|05.18.15 at 1:43 pm ET|
The Patriots have released outside linebacker Cameron Gordon, according to his agent Brett Tessler. The 23-year-old Gordon was signed as a rookie free agent last May, but he suffered an injury in training camp and was placed on injured reserve for the entire season. While at Michigan, the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder played in 45 career games with 15 starts and registered 136 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions.
|05.18.15 at 11:13 am ET|
Who says you can’t go home again?
After appearing to burn most every bridge on the way out of town last offseason, Brandon Spikes reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots on Monday, bringing the linebacker back to New England after a year with the Bills.
While Spikes has had his issues in pass coverage, he remains a tenacious run defender, and will likely slip right back into his old role with the Patriots. His familiarity with the system will certainly help when it comes to the reacclimation process, and the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder will also provide some depth for a linebacking corps that would be without Dont’a Hightower for a stretch this summer because of offseason shoulder surgery.
The signing of Spikes at this point on the calendar also makes sense — as we noted here, the fact the Patriots inked him to a deal following May 12 means that he will not count against the compensatory pick formula for 2016,
The 27-year-old Spikes, who compared his four years with the Patriots to slavery before he signed with Buffalo last offseason, had his best year in 2012, when he started 14 of the 15 games he played in and finished with a career-best 56 tackles. Last season in Buffalo, he played in 16 games and had 32 tackles for the Bills.