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Patriots set to enter Phase 3 of OTAs Tuesday morning at Gillette Stadium

05.26.15 at 6:30 am ET
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Phase Three of the Patriots offseason program opens on Tuesday morning at Gillette Stadium with the first of three practices. According to Article 21, Section 2 of the collective bargaining agreement, here are the rules and regulations around Phase Three:

(iii) Phase Three. Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks of the Club’s offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsections 5(a) and 5(c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity (“OTAs” or “OTA days”). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5(b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days of OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2(b)(ii) of this Ar­ticle. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs. team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permitted during Phase Three of the Club’s offseason workout program or any minicamp.

Rookies will be made available to the media this week, with first-round pick Malcom Brown set to meet with reporters on Wednesday, and some of the rest of the first-year players on Thursday. For the media, the lone access to OTA workouts will be on Friday at Gillette Stadium.

Michael McCann: Reported deadline for league needing to schedule Tom Brady’s Deflategate hearing a ‘non-issue’

05.25.15 at 9:59 pm ET
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According to the Associated Press, Tom Brady‘s appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate won’t be heard by Wednesday, which was initially believed to be the 10-day deadline for the hearing to be held.

However, late Monday night, there was some confusion about the overall timeline. In an e-mail with WEEI.com, legal analyst Michael McCann said that May 27 deadline for the hearing that was reported is questionable for a few reasons, but is ultimately a “non-issue” and won’t have a sizable impact on the proceedings.

“I’m not sure May 27 is the deadline, when the appeal appears to have been filed on May 14, and 10 business days from that would be Friday, May 29 — since it doesn’t include the day it was filed, or Memorial Day,” said McCann, who is also the founding Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

“Also, usually in an event like this when a party has a right to a deadline, that deadline is considered voluntarily waived or postponed when that party takes an action that could cause delay,” McCann added. “Here, the NFLPA petitioned commissioner Roger Goodell to recuse himself. That would seem to give him grounds to take longer than normal.

“My expectation is this deadline proves to be a non-issue.”

In addition to the four-game suspension for Brady, the Patriots were also fined $1 million and stripped them of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017 for their role in Deflategate.

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

Read More: Deflategate, Michael McCann, roger goodell,

Perfect weather greets fans gathered for ‘Free Tom Brady’ rally at Gillette Stadium

05.24.15 at 2:49 pm ET
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For Patriots fans, it was picture perfect weather to rally behind their picture perfect quarterback.

According to the “Free Tom Brady” rally Facebook page, 600 people committed part of their Memorial Day Sunday to show their support for the embattled Patriots quarterback in Lot 4 of Gillette Stadium. Estimates had the attendance actually on site less than the 600 figure.

Fans held signs that read “Free Tom Brady” and “Fire Goodell,” voicing their displeasure over the four-game suspension that was handed down to Brady by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the quarterback’s role in Deflategate.

Brady has appealed the suspension through the Players Association, which requested last week that league commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself from hearing the appeal. Goodell’s lawyers have suggested he deny the union’s request.

Patriots fans across New England and the country have rallied around Brady, whom they feel has been an unfair target of the probe by Ted Wells and the NFL to look into why footballs were under inflated in the first half of the AFC championship game against the Colts.

This week at Fenway Park, fans have broken out in spontaneous cheers of “Free Tom Brady,” including Friday night when the team was down 12-5 in the 8th inning of a loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Fans showed their disgust for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and their support of Tom Brady. (Maggie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fans showed their disgust for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and their support of Tom Brady. (Maggie Meyer/Getty Images)

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Read More: Free Tom Brady, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Sunday NFL Notes: Is this the week we hear from Tom Brady?

05.24.15 at 6:00 am ET
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Tom Brady met the media last year while at his celebrity touch football game, which benefits Best Buddies. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Best Buddies)

Tom Brady met the media this time last last year at his celebrity touch football game, which benefits Best Buddies and is part of a charitable weekend for the quarterback. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Best Buddies)

1. The sports media calendar starts to fill up again this week. First and foremost, there’s the potential to hear more from quarterback Tom Brady prior to his annual Best Buddies charity event, set for Friday and Saturday. In year’s past, Brady has made the rounds in a series of pre-promotional interviews in the days leading up to the event, and has spoken at halftime of his celebrity touch football game at Harvard on Friday night. In the wake of the news regarding his suspension, it’s not clear if he’ll address the Wells Report, but it should be an interesting few days for the quarterback. In addition, the Patriots are scheduled to make their rookies available to the media on Wednesday and Thursday. The introduction of the first-year players, which was delayed in the wake of the Deflategate news, will include first-round pick Malcom Brown on Wednesday, as well as other members of the rookie class on Thursday. In addition, there will be access to OTAs on Friday.

2. If Brady will be sidelined for a stretch in 2015, the natural question arises: Do the Patriots need to add a veteran signal-caller as a backup to (presumed) starter Jimmy Garoppolo? New England does have Garrett Gilbert (who ended the 2014 season on the practice squad) as the only other quarterback on the roster, but examining the list of available free agents (a group that includes Matt Flynn and Mike Vick), it doesn’t look like there are a lot of potential fits in Foxboro, even on a part-time basis. At the same time, there are financial ramifications to consider. While the move wouldn’t likely break the bank, signing a veteran as a backup for the start of the season would mean that the contract for the additional quarterback would be guaranteed. Considering that said backup would likely be jettisoned soon after Brady returns, it’s worth wondering if the Patriots would be inclined it spend that sort of money on someone who — in an ideal world — would be holding a clipboard for a few weeks. From this viewpoint, if a former Brady backup does become available between now and the start of the season (Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett come to mind), the Patriots could add them after Week One. That would give New England a relatively inexpensive insurance plan if something did happen to Garoppolo in the opener. Regardless, it’s another team-building question that needs to be taken into consideration as the team sits and waits for Brady’s appeal to take place.

3. Ever since rookie salaries became slotted, the race to get draft picks signed and into the system has lost some of its old drama. Currently, the Patriots have nine of their 11 draft picks signed, with only first-rounder Brown and fifth-rounder Joe Cardona yet to agree to contracts. Cardona (Navy) is the last fifth-round selection to sign, and given his background, it’s reasonable to speculate how much of that has to do with his uncertain future as it relates to a possible military commitment. As for Brown, he is one of 11 first-round picks who have yet to sign. Overall, as of Tuesday (according to our friend Brian McIntyre), over 80 percent of the 2015 class has signed/agreed to terms, including 91 percent of Day 3 picks.

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Read More: sunday nfl notes,

Patriots fans to stage ‘Free Tom Brady’ rally Sunday at Gillette Stadium

05.23.15 at 6:16 pm ET
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Tom Brady will be getting support from Patriots fans on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady will be getting support from Patriots fans on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Patriots fans will be taking time out of their Memorial Day weekend to show their support for their embattled superstar quarterback.

According to a Facebook fan page, fans will be holding a rally in support of Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event, according to a post on the page, describes the event as a “peaceful rally to protest the unjust football arrest of half God half man Tom Brady.”

The rally takes place at Patriot Place Parking Lot 4, in the general area of the Patriots Pro Shop and Hall at Patriot Place, which houses the team’s Hall of Fame.

Brady has been suspended for the first four games of next season by the NFL for his role in Deflategate. Brady has appealed the suspension through the Players Association, which requested last week that league commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself from hearing the appeal. Goodell’s lawyers have suggested he deny the union’s request.

Patriots fans across New England and the country have rallied around Brady, whom they feel has been an unfair target of the probe by Ted Wells and the NFL to look into why footballs were under inflated in the first half of the AFC championship game against the Colts.

This week at Fenway Park, fans have broken out in spontaneous cheers of “Free Tom Brady,” including Friday night when the team was down 12-5 in the eighth inning of a loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

A "Free Tom Brady" rally has been organized for Sunday on Facebook. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

A “Free Tom Brady” rally has been organized for Sunday on Facebook. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

As of Saturday afternoon, nearly 250 people had confirmed via the Facebook page that they were planning to attend. Fans are also encouraged to wear Tom Brady jerseys. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Deflategate, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Report: Roger Goodell will hear Tom Brady appeal after NFL rejects NFLPA motion

05.22.15 at 4:30 pm ET
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According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL rejected the NFLPA motion that Roger Goodell recuse himself from Tom Brady‘s appeal.

This means Goodell will hear Brady’s appeal, which goes against what Brady and the NFLPA wanted. The date for the appeal reportedly hasn’t been set.

Read More: roger goodell, Tom Brady,

Report: Still no date set for Tom Brady appeal hearing

05.22.15 at 3:12 pm ET
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Those looking for a date for Tom Brady‘s appeal hearing will need to wait a little longer.

According to Pro Football Talk, the league office says no date has been set for the hearing. The NFLPA officially filed the appeal last Thursday, May 14.

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

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,
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