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Tom Brady wonders what to get Gisele for Christmas

12.18.13 at 3:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO — In between talking about how he plans to prepare for the Ravens without Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, Tom Brady was asked about his Christmas plans during the hectic football season.

We found out that Brady loves to use Amazon to do a lot of his shopping, saving plenty of time, of course, during the end of the season when he is otherwise occupied with getting the Patriots into the playoffs.

But, no offense to Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Brady isn’t likely to be using the online giant to find wife Gisele the perfect gift under the Christmas tree.

Wednesday’s out-of-the-blue Q&A went like this:

Q: I know you’€™re focusing on football, but what do you enjoy most about the holiday season?

TB: I don’€™t know. I’€™m not sure.

Q: What about a favorite holiday movie?

TB: I don’€™t have much time to watch movies this time of year.

Q: Favorite holiday song?

TB: I don’€™t sing [laughter].

Q: Have you done your Christmas shopping?

TB: Amazon.com. I probably keep them in business. It’€™s hard to find your wife something on Amazon.com [laughter].

Q: So you still have some shopping to do?

TB: I do. Christmas, it’€™s hard to believe it’€™s around the corner, but it is.

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.

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Read More: Amazon, Amazon.com, Baltimore Ravens, Gisele Bunchen

Veteran Logan Mankins ready to tackle another new assignment if needed against Ravens

12.18.13 at 2:50 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Logan Mankins isn’€™t surprised by much, and so when he was asked to kick outside from left guard to left tackle on Sunday against the Dolphins, he wasn’€™t exactly shocked.

The 31-year-old veteran didn’€™t need a lot of time to get used to the new spot, taking over for Nate Solder after the starting left tackle went down with a head injury in the second half.

‘€œ[There are] a lot of different angles — going against faster guys, I’€™m used to the big, powerful guys, and now, I’€™m going against the speed guys on the edge,’€ he said after practice on Wednesday. ‘€œIt’€™s just something you have to get used to and learn on the fly. It went pretty well.

‘€œI don’€™t know what our plan is this week. We have a bunch of different options, and we’€™ll hopefully get it figured out before Sunday.’€

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Mankins, who played left tackle while at Fresno State and served as a left tackle in a limited role in the past, said that whenever he has a question about tackle technique, he thinks about former Patriots veteran Matt Light.

‘€œI always watched Matt Light all those years — we’€™re kind of the same size,’€ Mankins said of Light, who retired after the 2011 season after 11 years with New England. ‘€œWhen I’€™m out there, I always try to do what he did.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday that it was because of Light’€™s presence and steady play over the years that caused them to decide to move Mankins to left guard when he was drafted in 2005.

‘€œI think there’€™s no question that he could have played left tackle in this league, played for us,’€ Belichick said of Mankins. ‘€œBut we had Light there, we put him into the lineup right away at left guard and he and Light played together for [six] years and then we got [Nate] Solder and that was kind of the way it worked out.

‘€œI don’€™t think there was ever a thought from the coaching staff or from myself that he couldn’€™t play left tackle. That wasn’€™t it. It was more, ‘€˜We have a left tackle and he could play guard.’€™’€

According to Mankins, playing on the edge demands more finesse than when you’€™re lined up in the interior at guard.

‘€œYou’€™re running around a lot more — those guys are faster,’€ he said. ‘€œIt’€™s not always getting someone slammed into you. You’€™re feet have to be a little quicker. Move a little faster.’€

Solder was out for the bulk of the fourth quarter, and could be forced to sit out Sunday against the Ravens, a team known for their ability to create pressure off the edge with Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs.

‘€œI’€™ve lined up across from those guys a bunch of time, but they’€™re always on the tackle. They’€™ve both played in this league a long time, and I’€™ve seen them on film tons of times,’€ Mankins said of Dumervil and Suggs, who have combined for 18.5 sacks on the season. ‘€œThey’€™re both very good players — good at what they do. Powerful guys, and they get the job done out there. They’€™re good.

‘€œThey’€™re very good,’€ Mankins added when pressed about the Baltimore defense as a whole. ‘€œI think every statistic you look at, they’€™re right there near the top. They’€™re good on third down, good in the red area. They don’€™t give up many points on the first drive of the game. They’€™re a good defense and they’€™re playing well.’€

Mankins said he practiced ‘€œeverywhere’€ on the line on Wednesday, and is pretty much ready for any contingency against Baltimore.

‘€œI think as the week goes on, the more and more we know, the more I’€™ll know in what I have to do,’€ he said. ‘€œAt this point, I’€™m just looking to both to see what’€™s going to happen. We still don’€™t know what Nate’€™s status is. We’€™ve got other guys who have played tackle before, so we’€™re seeing what’€™s going to happen. We’€™ll let it play out.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder,

Bill Belichick launches his own nonprofit organization

12.18.13 at 1:51 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick has taken a big step toward a career in philanthropy.

Belichick Wednesday announced the official launch of the Bill Belichick Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to provide coaching, mentorship, and financial assistance to individuals, communities and organizations with a focus on the sports of football and lacrosse.

According to the first official press release from his foundation, Belichick’s mission is to “bring the value of the Belichick family – love of sports, coaching and team building – to the athletic leaders of tomorrow.”

‘€œMy goal is to recognize, support and endow those with great potential who have a need for additional help and resources,’€ Belichick said in a statement. ‘€œMentorship has been ingrained in our family and we take a team approach to just about everything we do. We have been helped by so many people and we look forward to helping others however we can by relating our experiences and life lessons through a variety of athletic programs and services.’€

For 43 years, Bill Belichick’€™s father, Steve, was a college football coach and scout, most notably at the Naval Academy, where he instilled the tenets of loyalty, discipline and commitment in his son. Through his association with the Naval Academy, Bill gained a profound appreciation for elite athletes, dedicated coaches and future leaders of our country.

Also at an early age, he built his knowledge and love for football, which helped propel him into a life in coaching and ultimately one of the most successful careers in the history of the National Football League. Two of his children, Amanda Belichick, Women’s Lacrosse Interim Head Coach at Wesleyan University and Steve Belichick, coaching assistant for the New England Patriots, have also forged coaching careers. Brian Belichick attends Trinity College, where he plays lacrosse. All three Belichick children have been by their father’s side for many of his career coaching milestones, as Bill Belichick was with his father.

Bill Belichick has a long history of philanthropy and supports many causes, including a scholarship fund created in 2003 at Annapolis High School for students who have improved or excelled academically while participating in athletics. Belichick grew up in Annapolis, Md. and his commitment to the area remains strong. The Bill Belichick Foundation will formally expand that mission to the New England region and beyond.
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Belichick Foundation, New England Patriots, nfl

Tom Brady gives some insight to lack of two-minute offense: ‘Maybe we should do it more’

12.18.13 at 1:30 pm ET
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FOXBORO — During the heyday of the Patriots offense under Tom Brady, the no-huddle or hurry-up offense was one of the key weapons.

This year, with the exception of the two-minute drill in each half, the Patriots have not employed it very often.

One reason may be that it requires very quick sight adjustments by every player on offense and for those players to be in the right place at the right time. That’s not to say it hasn’t been successful. The end of the Saints game featured perfect execution, featuring two passes to Austin Collie and a game-winning grab by Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds left.

The Patriots repeated it against Browns on Dec. 8 when New England needed two touchdowns in the final two minutes and an onside kick to get the win.

So, the question to Brady Wednesday at his presser: Why don’t you use it more often?

“I just think we’re trying to figure out what we think is best to do to help us win,” Brady said. “So, it just hasn’t really required that. But we go fast plenty of times in those two-minute situations where we’ve done a good job. Maybe we should do it more often.”

Brady hinted that with all of the injuries on offense and three rookies and another first-year receiver in Danny Amendola, it’s much harder to execute.

“We’ve been inconsistent and we’ve been dealing with a lot of different things,” Brady added. “The more consistent we can be, the more dependable we can be as players and the better our execution is the more points we’re going to score. Ultimately, the game is about scoring points. We have to do that the best we can. We try to practice on that, work on that, try to get as good as you can at it. Hopefully, we’re better right now than we were at the beginning of the year. That’s why we play the games.”

Told by Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette that he would follow up with a question for Josh McDaniels next week, Brady smiled and said, “Ask Josh, yeah. Josh knows the answers.”

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

Bill Belichick on the Ravens: ‘They look like the championship team that they are’

12.18.13 at 12:28 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick gave due props to the defending Super Bowl champions Wednesday as his Patriots prepare to take on the team that is getting hot again at the right time.

After Justin Tucker connected from 61 yards Monday night, the Ravens are suddenly an 8-6 team that is just one game behind the Bengals in the AFC North and riding a four-game winning streak.

“We have a little bit of a chance to catch up on the Ravens,” Belichick said. “Obviously, an impressive football team, like they usually are. [They are] a real solid organization. They do a great job, from all the way at the top with Steve and Ozzie. They put together a good football team. They’re well-coached.”

Doing the coaching is John Harbaugh, who appears to have his Ravens playing its best football at the most critical time of the season.

“John and his staff have done a great job,” Belichick said. “They play very well in all three phases of the game. Excellent on special teams. Obviously, their kicker is having a big year. Good returner, good specialists, good coverage people and made a lot of good plays on defense; one of the best situational teams in the league ‘€“ red area, third down.

“Big, physical team that’€™s tough to move the ball against. Offensively, they’€™re an explosive group: outstanding quarterback, running backs, tight ends have been solid ‘€“ [Dennis] Pitta’€™s back ‘€“ big receivers, physical receivers, good offensive line. They look like the championship team that they are. It will be a big challenge for us down there in Baltimore. [They’€™re] playing well, they’€™ve made a lot of key plays at the end of the games when they needed to made them, on offense, defense, special teams, whether it be kicks returned, stops, scores, moving the ball into field goal range, whatever it happens to be. They’€™ve made a lot of consistent big plays and they’€™re playing real well right now. It’€™s a good football team. It will be a good test for us down there.”

Patriots practice Wednesday: Nate Solder, Josh Boyce absent

12.18.13 at 11:11 am ET
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FOXBORO — Starting left tackle Nate Solder was not at the start of Patriots practice on Wednesday as the Patriots began on-field preparations for the Ravens this Sunday in Baltimore.

Also missing from sweats and shells practice was wide receiver Josh Boyce, who limped off the field following a 15-yard fourth-quarter kickoff return against the Dolphins.

Solder suffered a head injury and was given concussion testing after leaving the game in the second half, forcing Logan Mankins to move from left guard to left tackle, the position he played at Fresno State.

On the positive front, rookie receivers Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) and Aaron Dobson (left foot) were both in attendance and could be returning to game action this Sunday. Dobson has missed the last three games but returned to practice last Friday.

Thompkins injured his hip against the Texans on Dec. 1 and has missed the last two games.

The team practiced on the main Gillette Stadium field, which was cleared by snow plows after another heavy snow storm Tuesday night. While the temperature hovered around freezing with snow on the ground, the game late Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium is expected to be played in much different conditions. Temperatures in the low 70s with a 50 percent chance of rain is in the forecast.

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Josh Boyce, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder

Odin Lloyd’s family files wrongful-death lawsuit against Aaron Hernandez

12.18.13 at 10:22 am ET
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The family of shooting victim Odin Lloyd filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is charged with Lloyd’s murder.

The suit, reported by the Fall River Herald-News, was filed in Bristol County Superior Court on Monday. It alleges Hernandez “maliciously, willfully, wantonly, recklessly or by gross negligence caused Odin Lloyd to suffer personal injuries that directly resulted in his death.”

The family is seeking a court order to prevent the Patriots from paying more than $3 million that Hernandez claims the team owes him as part of his contract in a bid to keep the money available to the family should it win the suit.

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. in New Bedford, where the plaintiff’s attorney will argue for a restraining order to keep Hernandez from using legal maneuvering to protect his North Attleboro home.

The suit was filed the same day a woman with ties to Hernandez died under mysterious circumstances. Tabitha Perry, who survived a car accident that killed Hernandez associate Thaddeus Singleton III in June, was found unconscious and not breathing by police responding to a 911 call to a home in Southington, Conn.

Connecticut authorities said they are waiting for the results of toxicology tests.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

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