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Rex Ryan: ‘I haven’t and I never will’ kiss Bill Belichick’s rings

10.16.13 at 11:06 pm ET
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Rex Ryan made headlines the day late in Jan. 2009 he was hired to take over the Jets. He boldly proclaimed he didn’t come to the AFC East to “kiss” Bill Belichick‘s Super Bowl rings.

Well, since New York’s stunning playoff win in Jan. 2011, it’s been Belichick who has had the upper hand over Ryan, winning the last five encounters, including a 13-10 decision on Thursday night in Week 2.

Still, Ryan said Wednesday, he’s still not about to bow before Belichick.

“No, I haven’€™t. Maybe you have, but I haven’€™t, and I never will,” Ryan said when asked if he’s felt like he’s kissed the rings of late. “I came here to beat him and to win, and to win our own championship rings and all that type of stuff. Again, hey, the facts are we’€™ve lost five in a row to them and things like that. We’€™ll see if it’€™s six in a row.”

Since taking over the Jets in 2009, Ryan is 3-7, including the current five-game skid. Ryan started off with a win in 2009, holding Tom Brady without a touchdown in a 16-9 Jets win in September that year. In the next eight games, Brady averaged 30 points against the Jets, scoring at least 21 points in each game. That streak and the losing skid nearly ended on Sept. 12.

How has Ryan’s approach towards Brady evolved over the years?

“Well, apparently I do a terrible job of it because we’€™ve lost five in a row, so I don’€™t know,” Ryan deadpanned. “Maybe we’€™ll just have somebody else look at it.

“The guy was ‘€“ him and Peyton Manning, I’€™ve said it before from day one, are the best two I’€™ve ever gone against. They were when I came in the league many years ago as a defensive coordinator, and they’€™ve remained that way. Certainly we throw everything at them and see what happens, but we’€™re not just going to stand and play one or two coverages and let them pick us apart like he does a lot of people.

“You can’€™t just sit back and take it from him, that’€™s for sure.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl

NFLPA reportedly files grievances against Patriots on behalf of Aaron Hernandez, seeking millions

10.16.13 at 10:11 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The NFLPA is demanding the Patriots pay accused murderer Aaron Hernandez millions of dollars from his five-year, $40 million contract.

According to the Boston Herald and, the NFL Players Association has filed two grievances this week against the team on behalf of Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd in June.

The union is seeking restitution of Hernandez’s 2013 base salary ($1.323 million), his 2014 salary ($1.137 million) and workout bonus ($500,000). The workout bonus had guarantee language attached in his original contract, and also for the final installment of his signing bonus worth $3.25 million.

Hernandez signed a five-year extension in August 2012 that was to keep him with the Pats through 2018. The extension had a total maximum value of $40 million, with a $12.5 million signing bonus. In August, the NFLPA had filed a grievance against the Patriots on behalf of Hernandez, seeking to collect $82,000 in workout bonuses.

Team president Jonathan Kraft told the team’s radio network in August that the team believes Hernandez is not owed workout bonus money because the player failed to meet the 90 percent participation requirement.

After filing the initial grievance this August, the union made its only public statement about the case, setting the groundwork for this week’s more substantial demand from the team.

“On behalf of all players, it is our responsibility to protect the rights in the collective bargaining agreement,” the union said in a statement. “We are not tone-deaf to what the allegations are in this case, but for the benefit of all players, there are important precedents here we must protect.”

A team can recover bonus money and avoid a cap hit if a player violates one of the league’s personal-conduct policies or defaults on contract language.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, speaking before his team’s annual pre-season gala, responded to the grievance.

“Simple: you can look at our history. We honor all of our contracts, and we expect the people who sign them to honor their part of their contract,” Kraft said.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Jonathan Kraft, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Report: Devin McCourty is back as Patriots captain

10.16.13 at 8:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO — After being stripped of his captaincy to start this season, Devin McCourty – one of the most popular teammates in the locker room – is back as Patriots captain, according to a report from Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.

McCourty was elected as one of three defensive captains in 2011 and 2012 before not receiving the designation at the end of training camp this summer.

No official reason was ever given for the move, even to McCourty. But on Wednesday, with season-ending injuries to captains Vince Wilfork (Achilles) and Jerod Mayo (right pectoral muscle) , it left a void on the defensive side of the ball. McCourty is already considered the leader in the secondary and may have to move himself this weekend from safety back to corner with a hip injury lingering for Aqib Talib.

Earlier Wednesday, McCourty was asked about possibly filling the void of leadership once again without Mayo and Wilfork on the field.

“Everywhere outside this locker room, everyone’€™s going to be talking about our loss, but I think we’€™ve got some guys in here that are excited about their opportunity,” McCourty said. “I think the good thing this year is we have guys that prepare hard and work hard as if they were starting, and now they get that opportunity.”

McCourty said it will take a group effort to replace the leadership.

“We’€™ve all got to step up and kind of be group captains now,” said McCourty. “I think of it as Mayo and Vince are still our captains.

“When guys get hurt and they can’€™t be around, guys have to step up. I’€™ve been appointed one of those guys to step up, but it’€™s no different, guys on defense have to step up, guys like Steve Gregory, that’€™s played a lot of football here already; [Brandon] Spikes, a guy that’€™s a fourth-year player.”

Read More: Devin McCourty, New England Patriots, nfl,

Tom Brady explains where he learned to be so calm under pressure

10.16.13 at 7:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Sporting a shiner under his right eye from Sunday’s dramatic win over the Saints, Tom Brady gave a little insight Wednesday as to where he learned to be so calm, cool and collected under pressure.

Brady was told that Bill Belichick said he had poise from the beginning of his career, mentioning the “Tuck Rule” game of Jan. 2002. Brady was asked if he’s always possessed poise and referred to his days at the University of Michigan in his coloring his answer.

“I went to a big school so there were 110,000 people that came to our games in college,” Brady said. “I learned pretty early. I came here and there are 65,000 people. It’€™s like, ‘€˜Man, where is it? It’€™s half the stadium.’€™ You try to be in those pressurized situations and put a lot of pressure on yourself to perform well. Practices have always been important. You just try to do your best every single day.

“I’€™m usually not very much fun to be around at practice or in the game because I don’€™t joke around much, I’€™m pretty focused on our execution and what we need to do and what we need to do better. Hopefully guys understand that and they try to get better too. But we’€™re making progress. We’€™re 5-1. This week is as big as any game we’€™ve played all season. It’€™s our second one against the Jets. It would do great things for us in the division. We know how challenging it is to play against those guys. They’€™re very well coached. They have a great defense, they’€™ve played well offensively at times this year. It’€™s going to be a good challenge.”

Is he as calm as he appears in important situations?

TB: I’€™ve been around for a little bit so I’€™ve been in these situations. Good execution usually solves a lot of the issues. When you’€™re not executing well, you don’€™t score many points. I think you’€™re just trying to focus, really, on what the situation is, not what has happened over the course of the game. You get in a situation where you need a touchdown at the end, that’€™s the situation you’€™re in. You talk about those situations, you go through in your head the type of plays you’€™re going to run, the type of reads I’€™m going to make, the type of defenses you’€™re going to see and then you go out and you try to execute. Everyone does that, from the quarterback to the offensive line. We have meetings about those types of things so when those situations come up, no one is really surprised, you’€™re just focused on what you need to do and you go out there and try to execute it.

Is it important for Brady to convey that sense of calm to his teammates?

“This is a game of pressure ‘€“ it’€™s a pretty pressurized environment, especially around here on a daily basis,” Brady said. “There’€™s not much time where we get to take breaks and go. It’€™s just pedal to the metal from the moment we report to training camp until the end of the football season. Guys get tired, you get worn down but you have to fight through it. You have to be mentally tough enough to just grind through it. It feels like a regular season Wednesday today and we’€™ve been at it for awhile, but there’€™s no letting up. We just have to keep making improvements.

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Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl, Tom Brady

Jets DL Mo Wilkerson backs down from September guarantee regarding Patriots

10.16.13 at 6:56 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Muhammad Wilkerson pulled a reverse on Wednesday.

The Jets defensive lineman — who predicted a New York victory over the Patriots in September, only to see the Jets come up short in a 13-10 loss to New England — was asked about that boast on Wednesday and whether he regretted making the statement.

But he was quick to say he made no such boast a month ago.

“I don’€™t know who told you I guaranteed — I didn’€™t guarantee anything,” said Wilkerson on a conference call with the New England media. “Those words didn’€™t come out of my mouth.”

Wilkerson didn’t expand on the comment, but the statement is interesting in the wake of an interview with to New York’s WFAN Radio a few days before the Jets-Patriots matchup last month. In the Q&A — conducted a day after New York pulled out an 18-17 season-opening win over the Bucs — Wilkerson appeared to make no bones about the fact that his team was going to emerge with a victory.

‘€œWe’€™re going to go to Foxboro and get this win,’€ said the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder out of Temple. ‘€œWe’€™re going to be 2-0.’€

For what it’€™s worth, Wilkerson has been a part of the Jets since 2011, and has never been part of a New York win over the Patriots.

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Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview Patriots-Jets at MetLife Stadium

10.16.13 at 6:01 pm ET
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Read More: Chris Price, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Patriots Wednesday injury report: Five absent, seven limited led by Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman

10.16.13 at 5:44 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Five players missed Wednesday’s practice outside Gillette Stadium as the Patriots began on-field preparations for the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Aqib Talib suffered a hip injury while Danny Amendola and Dan Connolly both missed with a concussion. All three were injured in Sunday’s win over the Saints. Tommy Kelly and Leon Washington were unavailable for a second straight Wednesday after missing last week with knee and ankle injuries, respectively.

Seven other Patriots were limited, led by tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Here is Wednesday’s complete report:

Did Not Practice
DT Tommy Kelly (knee)
RB Leon Washington (ankle)
CB Aqib Talib (hip)
OL Dan Connolly (concussion)
WR Danny Amendola (concussion/groin)

Limited Participation
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee)
DB Devin McCourty (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm)
ST Matthew Slater (wrist)
DB Tavon Wilson (hamstring)

Full Participation
CB Kyle Arrington (groin)
DL Rob Ninkovich (groin)

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Dan Connolly, Danny Amendola, Leon Washington
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