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Rob Gronkowski says ‘thank you’ to Jeremy Lane for his critique of TE

01.23.15 at 2:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski isn’t about to get into a trash-talking war with Jeremy Lane — or anyone else for that matter — leading up to Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale.

For that reason, he took the high road on Friday when asked for his reaction to the scouting report from Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane that Gronk is “not that good a player.”

“Everyone’€™s entitled to their own opinion,” Gronkowski said. “They’ve got a great defense overall. We’ve got to be worried about their whole defense. We’ve got to be sure we practice hard, prepare hard all week so we’€™re ready to roll.”

Does it tick Gronkowski off? Will it motivate him?

“I just keep doing what I’ve got to do.” Gronkowski said. “I’ve just got to keep working hard at practice, keep bringing it at practice, keep preparing. Just keep getting ready, because it’€™s not just one player on their defense, there’€™s 11 guys out there at the same time. It’€™s not just 11, they’ve got the backups, too. So I’ve got to prepare for their whole defense, no doubt about that.

“I’ve got much respect for the Seattle Seahawks throughout their whole team. Just got to keep working hard and practicing and getting ready for the game. Bring it out there on the field.”
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Read More: Jeremy Lane, New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, Seattle Seahawks

Colts backup QB Matt Hasselbeck on MFB: ‘No one cares’ about Deflategate

01.23.15 at 2:46 pm ET
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Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck joined Middays with MFB on Friday morning to discuss Deflategate and his team’s reaction to it. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

“For me and my teammates, we’re pretty surprised how big this thing has gotten,” the former Boston College QB said. “For us, they kicked our butts. … So I think for us, that’s all it was. It wasn’t anything about footballs or anything about that. It was about, you know what, we’ve got to reevaluate everything that we know about how to beat this team, because clearly what we’ve tried hasn’t even come close to working.”

Hasselbeck said he learned of the controversy after the game while heading out of town with his team, and the Colts were not very concerned with it.

“I had no idea that by Monday it would be the story that it was,” Hasselbeck said. “For me it’s not even that big of a competitive advantage, if true.”

A former Patriots ball boy (when his father played for the team), Hasselbeck said the Colts players had “no reaction” when hearing the news.

“I think we were just deflated and probably just a little embarrassed about how uncompetitive the game was. It just wasn’t even a competitive game,” he said. adding: “For us as players, even with the knowledge, even with it coming across our Twitter timeline, was not a big deal. It wasn’t something even most guys understood. No one cares. Even now, I would say, if you polled the guys on our defense or the guys up front, no one cares. They want it to go away probably as much as the Patriots do. They just want a chance to redo the game next year, hopefully if we’re lucky enough to get back to the playoffs and play them again.”

As for people suggesting that Tom Brady should be suspended for the Super Bowl, Hasselbeck dismissed that thought.

“Even if true, it’s not that much of a competitive advantage,” he said. “To me, it’s not that big of a deal. I could see maybe if someone gets caught lying and someone gets mad and says, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t have lied to us. Now we’re mad.’ But to me the whole deflate football thing is not that big of a deal, whatever the PSI is.

“And I think I could tell, I think I could tell easily with my eyes closed, with the ball in my hand. But even then, I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Hasselbeck guessed that the issue might have been made larger because of the magnitude of an AFC championship game.

“This is not like a normal game,” he said, adding: “Maybe no one would notice on a normal game, but everyone’s going to notice on this game.”

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Read More: Deflategate, Matt Hasselbeck,

Julian Edelman wants to move past Deflategate: ‘I’m more worried about Seattle’

01.23.15 at 2:28 pm ET
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Julian Edelman wants to move past Deflategate ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman wants to move past Deflategate ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — With all the controversy surrounding the Patriots, Julian Edelman stood at his locker with dozens of media members surrounding him and multiple TV cameras all wanting to ask questions about Deflategate.

Edelman wasn’t any mood to talk about it, and said his focus is on the Seahawks and next Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“I’m more worried about Seattle and what Seattle does on defense and special teams. That is what I am worried about,” said Edelman.

Did he notice anything different about the footballs between the first half and the second half in last AFC championship game?

“I didn’t notice anything. My mind is on Seattle,” Edelman said.

Seattle finished the season 12-4 — like the Patriots — and won the NFC West. The Seahawks came from behind to stun the Packers in overtime in last weekend’s memorable NFC championship game.

Edelman knows the Seahawks are a tough team and it will be a tough task for New England.

“They are a really good team,” said Edelman. “They came back against an unbelievable team in Green Bay and played the situations out correctly. They executed some tough plays — the onside kick, getting the ball back, scoring, executing the overtime situation —  they are a fundamentally sound team when it comes to all that stuff. It is definitely going to be a tough task.”

Next week will be Edelman’s second Super Bowl, as he was in his second year in 2011 for Super Bowl XLVI. He wasn’t even a factor in the offense, as his main role was as a kick returner. He returned three kicks for 73 yards in the game and did not record a catch.

Things will be much different for Edelman this time around, as he is no longer just a kick returner — he is one of Tom Brady‘s favorite targets on offense and a main part of the offensive game plan.

“It’s a different year then and was a different spot for me, so I am probably going to try and do the best I can to prepare myself and how I’ve prepared myself each and every day this year,” said Edelman.

“It’s a crazy week — the Super Bowl,” he added. “The last time I was there I remember kind of blocking out and trying to make it routine and going out and trying to prepare to the best of your ability and unfamiliarity. That is what I am worrying about right now.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Julian Edelman, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX

NFL issues statement in regard to Deflategate

01.23.15 at 1:56 pm ET
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The NFL released the following statement Friday afternoon in regard to its continuing investigation into the controversy surrounding the report of underinflated footballs being used in the AFC title game:

“Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The investigation began based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game.

“The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss. Mr. Wells and his firm bring additional expertise and a valuable independent perspective. The investigation began promptly on Sunday night. Over the past several days, nearly 40 interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise. We have obtained and are continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence. We have retained Renaissance Associates, an investigatory firm with sophisticated forensic expertise to assist in reviewing electronic and video information.

“The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence. While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated. The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.

“Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Deflategate,

Mark Brunell on MFB: ‘I don’t believe Tom Brady was telling the truth’

01.23.15 at 1:45 pm ET
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ESPN’s Mark Brunell joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss Deflategate and Tom Brady‘s role in it, a day after he indicated that he did not believe Brady’s assertion that he was not involved. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“My opinion is I don’t believe Tom Brady was telling the truth,” Brunell said. “But I will say, I thought Bill Belichick, he came across as sincere. In my experiences with six different head coaches, never one time has the subject of the condition of the footballs on game day come up. Those guys have other things to do, much like coach Belichick. I don’t think he had any knowledge of it based on my history.

“But I do know the equipment guys, their No. 1 job on game day is to take care of the players, meet the needs of the players. … And at the top of that list is making sure those footballs are exactly how the starting quarterback wants them. That’s what I do know.”

Brunell became emotional on ESPN Thursday while discussing the press conference in which Brady denied any involvement in Deflategate.

“I was disappointed. I was surprised by what Tom had to say,” Brunell said. “Based on my experience as a quarterback and understanding the process of getting the ball prepared and getting it in the right condition and getting it onto the field during game day, I expected something totally different from Tom. I just didn’t believe that he had nothing to do with it.

“The NFL’s investigation made it very clear that those balls were deflated by two PSI. Somebody had to do it. And I just don’t think there’s an equipment guy in the NFL or anywhere, like I said, that would take it on himself to deflate the balls … That just doesn’t happen.”

Brunell said he did not expect Brady to take the approach he did.

“I don’t believe it was true,” Brunell said. “This is what I expected from Tom, honestly: I just thought he’d say, ‘Listen, I’ve gone on record as saying that I prefer the balls deflated.’ And whenever that was at some point in the past, months, maybe years ago, he says he’s communicated to an equipment guy, ‘If it’s OK, take some of the pressure out, that’s how I prefer it.’ I thought he’d come on and admit that. I thought he would say, ‘I made a mistake, it’s my responsibility, it will never happen again, I wanted a little air out of the balls but I didn’t realize it would be that much.’

“If that happens — because you could very easily see him saying that, or believe that was the case — if that happens, I think this story goes away real quick. Just taking some of the blame, admitting to a mistake and hopefully moving on. That’s what I thought I would hear from Tom Brady.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Mark Brunell, Tom Brady

Darrelle Revis on Tom Brady addressing team: ‘Shows a lot of character in him’

01.23.15 at 1:26 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis said it showed a lot of character that Tom Brady addressed the team Thursday.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis said it showed a lot of character that Tom Brady addressed the team Thursday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It was reported on Thursday, quarterback Tom Brady addressed the team during a team meeting before practice and before he spoke to the media Thursday afternoon.

Darrelle Revis, a leader in his own right on the defensive side of the ball, said it showed just what kind of a leader Brady is. Revis also said some of the players didn’t even know anything was going on until Brady addressed the team.

“He stood up and spoke and said I know this is a distraction and we have to keep focus as a team,” said Revis. “We have a big game to play and that is something he wouldn’t do. He wouldn’t break any rules. It was basically just to clear the smoke.”

“I think at that point you want your leader to stand up and say a couple of words for us to move forward because it can be a distraction and it can bother us,” he added. “This whole experience, this Super Bowl experience. Definitely it shows a lot of character in him to stand up and speak to the whole team.”

As for the team not letting it be a distraction, Revis said that won’t be a problem as the team has gone through a lot this season, especially early in the season after their 2-2 start people were doubting the team along with Brady and Bill Belichick.

“I think as a whole we’re fine,” Revis said. “We’ve handed a lot of things this year — adversity wise — and we just have to keep on pushing.”

Revis was asked about Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman and his feelings that, he [Sherman] is the best cornerback in the league. The Patriots corner didn’t seem to care and quickly moved on to the next question after saying, “That’s great.”

The Seattle offensive has a lot of different players the defense will need to keep an eye on. Running back Marshawn Lynch finished the season with 1,306 yards on 280 carries and 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Russell Wilson can not only throw the ball down field, but he’s a good runner as well. Wilson ran for 849 yards and six touchdowns this season.

“They are very physical,” said Revis. “Very talented. They play tough, they play hard. Even in the running game, you see Marshawn Lynch running the ball, 40, 50-yard gains and so our secondary knows it is going to be a fun game.”

Revis is 0-2 in his previous two games against the Seahawks.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, Super Bowl XLIX

Bryan Stork (knee) practices for 2nd straight day

01.23.15 at 12:44 pm ET
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Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

FOXBORO — Things appear to be trending in the right direction for Bryan Stork’s availability for the Super Bowl.

The rookie center was present for a second straight day at Patriots practice, which was a walkthrough held indoors at the Dana Farber Fieldhouse at Gillette Stadium.

The media viewing portion of practice was very, very brief, but Stork was wearing some sort of brace/sleeve on his injured knee. He was listed as limited on the practice report yesterday. Since the viewing portion was so short, there was no way to take any sort of attendance.

Be sure to check back later for the practice report from the team.

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bryan Stork, Super Bowl XLIX,
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