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Chris Mortensen on MFB: Despite skeptics, Patriots ‘truly believe [Deflategate] is baloney’

01.27.15 at 8:48 pm ET
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Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen

ESPN Senior NFL reporter Chris Mortensen joined Middays with MFB Tuesday to discuss the NFL’s investigation into the Patriots’ potential deflating of footballs in the AFC Championship against the Colts.

To listen to the interview on the Middays with MFB Audio on Demand page, click here.

While many came away impressed with Bill Belichick‘s animated press conference Saturday, Mortensen was skeptical of the information shared by the New England coach, saying that Belichick’€™s press conference “doesn’€™t explain how the Colts’€™ balls remained within regulation.”

“One team’€™s footballs, basically all of them were under-inflated. The other team’€™s footballs, when re-tested — and they like them on the lower end too, by the way, the Colts, were all within regulation,” Mortensen said. ‘€œAll the scientific minutiae that’€™s been thrown at us, be careful about buying into it.”

Added Mortensen: “I found it to be fascinating TV, but it didn’€™t persuade me.”

Mortensen also noted that he was surprised to see Patriots owner Robert Kraft handle Monday’€™s press conference the way he did. In addition to maintaining the Patriots’€™ innocence, Kraft said the league should apologize to his coach and quarterback if they find the Patriots committed no infractions.

“Either way, Bob Kraft, what he did [Monday], as I’€™ve been told by other people in the league, was astounding, because we all know that he’€™s now throne down the gauntlet to commissioner Goodell, who obviously Bob Kraft‘€™s been his biggest ally,” Mortensen said.

Mortensen said that the comments from the Patriots shows that despite the ongoing investigation, the Pats “truly believe this is baloney.”

Despite the distraction of Deflategate, Mortensen said he believes the Pats will defeat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.

“I think they’€™re going to win the Super Bowl,” Mortensen said. “I think they’€™re going to win it because they’€™re the better team.”

For complete Super Bowl XLIX coverage, visit

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs,

Rob Gronkowski, 100 percent healthy for Super Bowl: ‘Can’t tell you how excited I am for the game’

01.27.15 at 7:53 pm ET
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PHOENIX — The last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl was 2012 and Rob Gronkowski was not healthy.

The star tight end had injured his ankle in the second half of the AFC championship game against the Ravens, and clearly wasn’t 100 percent for the game. Gronkowski finished the game with just three catches for 26 yards and the Patriots fell to the Giants, 21-17.

This year is a different story as Gronkowski is 100 percent healthy, and should be one of the biggest parts of the Patriots offense Sunday night against the Seahawks.

“We’€™re just looking at this Super Bowl,” said Gronkowski. “I’€™m just worried about this one right now. Preparing all week, feeling good, feeling great, feeling healthy. That’€™s key. Just working hard in the week and we start practice back up tomorrow down here. I’€™m super excited about that. Can’€™t tell you how excited I am for the game.”

For the first time since 2011, Gronkowski played in 15 or more games. He hasn’t played a full season since that year, and although he didn’t this year, he could very well have as he was a healthy scratch for Week 17’s game against the Bills, as the game meant nothing for the playoffs.

“It’€™s definitely a tough experience, man,” Gronkowski said of being injured and missing games. “Definitely don’€™t take the game for granted anymore. It’€™s an honor to be out there on the field with my teammates and all. Throughout the whole year, especially this time of the year, going to the Super Bowl, being out on the practice field, helping my team do its job and just going out and practicing hard. I’€™m super excited for this game Sunday.”

As expected, the very outgoing tight end with a bubbly personality was asked a number of off beat questions, including singing a Katy Perry song. He also said he is the best dancer on the team and Julian Edelman is the worst.

He also did say the now famous Gronkowski party bus will be in Arizona come the weekend.

“It’€™s on its way down right now,” he said. “Body Armor wrapped it up in this thing. It can’€™t get into the parking lot in Gillette because of the Body Armor sponsor, but it’€™s all good. It’€™s on it’€™s way down here. I’€™m sure there will be some pictures with it and all that good stuff.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Rob Gronkowski, Super Bowl XLIX,

Darrelle Revis to Jets fans watching him in Super Bowl: ‘Not really my fault … I didn’t make the call’

01.27.15 at 6:47 pm ET
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PHOENIX — This is a tough time to be a Jets fan.

The quarterback situation is a mess. They have a new coach. And they’re about to watch arguably the best defensive player in their history playing for the hated Patriots in the Super Bowl.

On Tuesday, at media day at US Airways Center, Darrelle Revis was asked it must be like for a Jets fan to watch him play on game’s biggest stage after making a name for himself for his first six seasons in New York.

“€œIt’s not really my fault,” Revis said. “I didn’t make the call. Management made the call at that time and they felt it was best to get rid of me. So that’s the situation. That’s how I look at it.”

Ironically, Revis is in the Super Bowl with a New York-type controversy swirling in Deflategate. That gave Revis another reason to recall what he went through in the Big Apple, and to a lesser degree in Tampa Bay, with the reported mutiny against Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano.

“Things come up and I’ve been around a little bit,” said the Jets’ 2007 first-round pick. “I’ve been on teams where situations come up and you have to deal with them accordingly. Whatever the situation is, the league office is dealing with it, too, and you just have to really see what they do about it. Let them handle it.”

After tearing his ACL against the Dolphins in September 2012, Revis went through an extensive rehab program that was documented in “Hard Knocks” on HBO. The following April, the Jets traded him to Tampa Bay and he signed one of the biggest contracts in the NFL. Revis’ six-year deal was worth $96 million, making him the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Greg Schiano, New England Patriots, New York Jets

LeGarrette Blount on Seahawks defense: ‘They’re not immortal, they can be beaten’

01.27.15 at 5:56 pm ET
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LeGarrette Blount doesn't seem too concerned with the Seahawks defense come Sunday. (Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount doesn’t seem too concerned with the Seahawks defense come Sunday. (Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Seattle defense was the best in the NFL in the regular-season, allowing a league-low 267.1 yards per game, and just 15.9 points, also a league-low.

Don’t tell that to Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.

“I don’€™t care about them being the top defense, that doesn’€™t bother me,” Blount said Tuesday. “They were good enough to get here, just like we were good enough to get here.  They’€™re not immortal. They can be beaten.”

Blount wasn’t with the Patriots to start the season as the running back wasn’t re-signed following last season, and the big running back was picked up by the Steelers. Things did not go well in Pittsburgh, as following the Week 12 game on Monday Night Football he was released the next day, as he walked off the sideline and into the locker room in the middle of the game.

After clearing waivers he signed with the Patriots Nov. 20.

“They knew that I could run the football,” said Blount. “They know that I can effective with it. They know that I have big play potential. They like my style of running and I fit in perfectly with this offense. It was a perfect match.”

In five regular season games with the Patriots he finished with 60 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns. In the two postseason games he has 33 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Between last postseason and this postseason with New England, Blount has seven touchdown runs — a playoff franchise record.

“I feel like they gave me a chance to come out here and show that I can do what I’€™ve been doing in this league for a couple of years,” said Blount. “I can run the football and I can do it effectively. I was excited to become another asset to the team, another part of the team and another weapon that they have. I was excited that they gave me another chance to come back and be a part of what’€™s going on today. I don’€™t feel like I had anything to prove but I just wanted to show people that I could still run the football.”

The Oregon product acknowledged it was an up-and-down year, but in the end it will be all worth it by playing in his first Super Bowl on Sunday.

“Don’€™t ever give up,” he said. “Be persistent and continue to push forward for your dreams.  Obviously I’€™m going to be living one of my dreams in a few days.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, LeGarrette Blount, Super Bowl XLIX,

Tom Brady appreciates Gisele taking care of their kids during blizzard

01.27.15 at 5:35 pm ET
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PHOENIX — This is a great time to be in Phoenix for the Super Bowl, and no one knows that more than Tom Brady.

In the midst of the media storm on the floor of US Airways Center during media day, the Patriots quarterback gave a tip of the cap to his supermodel wife, Gisele, who is weathering the blizzard in Boston and taking care of their kids.

“Yeah, she’s at home taking care of everybody and all the kids,” Brady said. “She’s going to come out this weekend. There’s obviously a lot going on with media day and our preparations. She’s taking care of the home front.”

Brady, like others here at the Super Bowl with family back in Boston, has been in contact with his family to make sure they’re doing OK.

“Everyone’€™s pretty hunkered down,” Brady added. “There’€™s a lot of snow, causing a lot of problems in a lot of cities. So hopefully everyone is OK.”

Brady was asked how his family support system helps him deal with the ongoing controversies of Deflategate and the pressure of playing in his sixth Super Bowl.

“They mean a lot. My parents and my wife, certainly,” Brady said. “I’ve got a great support system.”

Gisele posted a picture of the snowbound Brady house on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

Sending love! #blizzard’„️’›„️ ‘¤ï¸ Mandando amor! #nevasca

Una foto publicada por Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) el

Read More: Gisele, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady

Earl Thomas on Tom Brady: ‘He’s not the goody two-shoes you all think he is’

01.27.15 at 5:33 pm ET
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Tom Brady said Monday night he doesn't consider himself with some of the all-time great quarterbacks. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady said Monday night he doesn’t consider himself with some of the all-time great quarterbacks. (Elsa/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Tom Brady is married to a supermodel, endorses UGG boots, jets around the world, and lives a life the rest of us can’t even fathom.

But he’s not fooling Earl Thomas. The Seahawks free safety knows what Brady really is.

“He’s a general in every regard,” Thomas said at Media Day on Tuesday. “He runs it. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s not the goody two-shoes you all think he is. He’s a warrior in every way.”

If a theme emerged from the Seahawks defenders, it’s the genuine respect they hold for Brady, the three-time Super Bowl champ gunning for his fourth title in six tries.

“They have a great quarterback, “said strong safey Kam Chancellor. “Tom Brady‘s a great quarterback who’s definitely capable of getting his guys the ball and letting them make plays.”

Cornerback Richard Sherman looks forward to the challenge.

“It’s fun for competitors,” he said. “It’s a great challenge for us and anybody who’s ever been an elite competitor or an elite player enjoys those moments against other elite players. It brings the best out of you.”

Sherman also sees Brady as being more animated than people think.

“He’€™s a little more fiery than the rest of the quarterbacks,” Sherman said. “A lot of the quarterbacks try to stay even keel throughout the game and not get too high, not get too low. He’€™ll show his emotions a little more than the rest of them.”

That said, the Seahawks aren’t going to respect Brady too much. Linebacker K.J. Wright was asked which member of the offense scares him.

“No one,” he said.

Patriots: Ball security result of good practice habits, not deflated footballs

01.27.15 at 5:03 pm ET
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PHOENIX –€” In the wake of the Deflategate controversy, some pointed to the fact that the Patriots have a lower fumble rate than many other teams the last few years. But several members of the New England offense said Tuesday that ball security has always been paramount with the Patriots, thanks in large part to how coach Bill Belichick operates. (Not to mention the fact that the initial data may be more than a little suspect.)

“€œI’€™ve always been told that you can’€™t win the game without the football,”€ said running back LeGarrette Blount. ‘€œIf you give the football away you have no control of the game. We have to continue to protect it, and continue to have it in our hands as much as possible and don’€™t let it hit the ground and don’€™t let anybody else get ahold of it. You can’€™t win the game without the football.

“€œWe put a heavy emphasis on keeping the football,”€ he added. “We practice holding the football, we have the defense punch at the football a lot extra then probably most teams do. We do everything to emphasis ball security because like I said, you can’€™t win the game without the ball.”

“€œI can definitely tell that the coaching and the drills that we do within the drill and the offseason and camp and OTAs have really paid off for a lot of guys,”€ said wide receiver Danny Amendola. “We take a lot of drills that we do within the week, within practice, and take them to the field. We do a lot of drills here that really benefit that too.”

Read More: Danny Amendola, Deflategate, LeGarrette Blount,
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