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Bill Belichick putting Deflategate behind him, focusing on Super Bowl ‘100 percent’

01.26.15 at 10:54 pm ET
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Bill Belichick speaks Monday at the team headquarters in Chandler, Ariz. (Mike Petraglia/

Bill Belichick speaks Monday at the team headquarters in Chandler, Ariz. (Mike Petraglia/

CHANDLER, Ariz. — After Robert Kraft took to the podium to give him a passionate and defiant vote of confidence, Bill Belichick said Monday he’s not talking about Deflategate anymore.

“I’€™m totally focused on Seattle,” Belichick said in his first press conference at the team’s Super Bowl headquarters at the Wild Horse Sheraton in Chandler. “That’€™s it. I’€™m totally focused on preparing our football team for the Seattle Seahawks. One hundred percent.

“Right now, the only thing I’€™m focused on is the Seattle Seahawks. That’€™s what we’€™re going to talk about. I’€™ve discussed everything else at length and there will be another point in time for it. But this week, it’€™s all about the Seattle Seahawks.”

Belichick was asked several times early in the press conference about Kraft’s statement and whether his position on the matter has changed in light of the Jay Glazer report Monday afternoon that the NFL is focusing its investigation on an equipment staffer in the Patriots locker room.

“I appreciate the question,” Belichick said. “I’€™ve spent, as you know, quite a bit of time. I’€™ve had two lengthy press conferences about that. My attention is totally turned now and focused on the Seattle Seahawks and our game Sunday, and that’€™s where it’€™s going to stay for this week.

“I appreciate the questions, but I’€™ve covered everything that I can cover in the previous week and my attention is focused on the Seattle Seahawks. Our job is to get ready to play this game Sunday and that’€™s where it’€™s going to be from here on out.”

As for the support of Kraft, Belichick recalled his first days with the organization in 2000, when the Patriots owner executed a trade with the Jets that would change the course of both franchises.

“I have a great relationship with Mr. Kraft,” Belichick said. “I really appreciate the opportunity every day to coach the New England Patriots. Mr. Kraft gave up quite a bit in order to work out the trade, basically that’€™s what it was, for me to be part of this organization after I resigned from the Jets. I’€™ll be forever indebted to him for that and the support that he and his family and his staff have given me as the football- to coach the football team has been tremendous. We have a great personal relationship and a very professional relationship.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX,

Tom Brady: A win in Super Bowl XLIX ‘would be the most satisfying thing at the end of the week’

01.26.15 at 9:18 pm ET
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Tom Brady said a win this Sunday would be very satisfying. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady said a win this Sunday would be very satisfying. (Elsa/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Although much of Tom Brady‘s 17-minute press conference with the media Monday night at the team’s hotel centered around the actual football, there were some left over questions from the events of last week.

Brady, like Bill Belichick, is moving on.

“I have moved forward and past those initial feelings,” said Brady. “It’s all part of the process, so I have let those things behind and I want to move forward because that is what the team expects of me. I think we’ve dealt with a lot of adversity this season and we have to deal with some more. We just have to keep fighting and hopefully we can go out and get a win. That would be the most satisfying thing at the end of the week.”

Earlier in the day on Dennis & Callahan, Brady said his “feelings were hurt,” but now he’s moving on and his attention as all towards the Seahawks and Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Before traveling to Arizona the Patriots had a sendoff at City Hall Plaza. Brady said seeing the support of the fans was great, and he’s happy to be out in Arizona now to prepare for the game.

“It was fun today leaving Boston to see the support we got there — I think all the guys were pretty fired up,” said Brady. “I said earlier I thought we had a couple of great days of preparation in Foxboro and just to get here to the site is great. Obviously the turnout here is great. There is nothing like it. It will be a fun week. I am excited for the challenge. It is a big challenge for us. Hopefully we can focus on all the important things, eliminate as many distractions as possible and go out there and play a great game.”

Before Belichick and Brady took to the podium, owner Robert Kraft had some pretty strong remarks towards the NFL. Although Brady didn’t here the comments, he is grateful to play for Kraft and considers him family.

“We have a very special relationship,” Brady said. “I have been fortunate to play for 15 years. It’s a privilege to play for this team. Mr. Kraft, Jonathan, they are family to me and I would love to go out and play my tail off and play the best I can to try and win a Super Bowl for them.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady,

Robert Kraft defends Patriots, says NFL should apologize if league finds them not guilty of any wrongdoing

01.26.15 at 8:14 pm ET
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PHOENIX — Robert Kraft came out swinging on Monday night, defending the reputation of the Patriots in the wake of Deflategate and adding that if the NFL doesn’t find New England guilty of tampering with footballs, he would expect a full apology from the league.

The owner, speaking prior to coach Bill Belichick at media availability at their team hotel, said he is “confident” that the league will exonerate the team.

“I am confident that this investigation will uncover whatever the facts that took place last Sunday,” Kraft said of the probe that the NFL has undertaken.

Here is the complete transcript of Kraft’s remarks regarding the events of last week:

“Given the events of the last week, I want to take a minute to address the air pressure matter before we kickoff this week’s media availability. I have spoken with Coach Belichick. I have spoken with Tom Brady. I’ve taken the time to understand to the best of my abilities what goes on in the preparation of game day footballs. I want to make it clear, that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process in violation of NFL rules.

“Tom, Bill and I have been together for 15 years. They are my guys. They are part of my family and Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult discussions over the years and I have never known them to lie to me. That is why I am confident in saying what I just said. It bothers me greatly that their reputations and integrity, and by association, that of our team has been called into question this past week.

“As I said on Friday in my prepared statement, we welcome the league’€™s investigation and the involvement of Attorney [Ted] Wells. I am confident this investigation will uncover whatever the facts were that took place last Sunday and the science of how game balls react to changes in the environment. This would be in direct contrast to the public discourse which has been driven by media leaks, as opposed to actual data and facts. Because of this, many jump to conclusions and made strong accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff, questioning the integrity of all involved.

“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular Coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they’€™ve had to endure this past week.

“I’€™m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled, and reported upon. We expect hard facts, as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to draw the conclusion of this investigation. In closing, I would like to say to all the fans of the National Football League, and especially the amazing fans of the New England Patriots, that I and our entire organization believe strongly in the integrity of the game, and that the rules of fair play, are properly, equitably and fairly enforced. Thank you.”

Ryan Hannable contributed to this report.

Read More: Deflategate, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, Super Bowl XLIX

Seahawks aren’t sweating Brandon Browner’s threats

01.26.15 at 7:54 pm ET
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PHOENIX ‘€“ Brandon Browner believes the Patriots should attack the injured elbow of Seahawks corner Richard Sherman and the injured shoulder of safety Earl Thomas.

“Break it if you can,” he told ESPN.

So what do the Seahawks think of their former teammates’ words?

Bring it on.

“I would expect nothing less,” said wide receiver Doug Baldwin. “This is the Super Bowl. What do you expect? I understand the fans want it to be classy and everything said to be politically correct, but that is the truth of the matter. We want this game just as much as they do and they want this game just as much as we do. I expect nothing less from Brandon Browner. We go after them in an aggressive fashion just as much as they are going to go after us.”

Browner played for the Seahawks from 2011-13, and he considers players like Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor among his close friends. There are clearly no hard feelings.

“BB is like a brother to us,” Chancellor said. “All I can say is God bless his heart. The man upstairs knows. God bless his heart. He was like a big brother figure to me. Definitely showed me how to be a leader.”

The way Baldwin sees it, the Patriots should try to exploit whatever weaknesses they can find.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “I believe that you find whatever edge you can or whatever weakness your opponent has and you try to take advantage of it so you can take the upper hand.”

Ted Wells: Deflategate probe likely to last ‘several more weeks’

01.26.15 at 6:00 pm ET
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PHOENIX –€” Ted Wells, who is leading the NFL’€™s investigation into Deflategate, issued a statement Monday saying he believes the probe will take “at least several more weeks.”

“We are in the process of conducting a thorough investigation on the issue of the footballs used in the AFC Championship. This work began last week, stretched through the weekend, and is proceeding expeditiously this week notwithstanding the Super Bowl. We are following customary investigative procedures and no one should draw any conclusions about the sequence of interviews or any other steps, all of which are part of the process of doing a thorough and fair investigation. I expect the investigation to take at least several more weeks. In the interim, it would be best if everyone involved or potentially involved in this matter avoids public comment concerning the matter until the investigation is concluded. The results will be shared publicly.”

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Bill Belichick on Dale & Holley: Deflategate ‘really hasn’t’ hindered preparation for Seahawks

01.26.15 at 4:34 pm ET
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Making his weekly appearance on Dale & Holley, Patriots coach Bill Belichick discussed the Deflategate saga and his desire for his team’€™s attention to be turned to Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks.

For audio of the interview, go to the Audio On Demand page.

When asked about the ball deflation scandal, Belichick responded, ‘€œI appreciate the question, but I covered it pretty thoroughly [Saturday], and I don’€™t have anything else to add at this time. My focus is on the Seahawks.’€

He did say that the NFL’€™s presence in the matter has not affected his preparation for the Seahawks.

“It really hasn’€™t,” he said. “I haven’€™t been involved with them, so it really hasn’€™t.”

As for Super Bowl preparations, Belichick said the Patriots have made strides as they ready themselves for the NFC champions.

“We’€™re about halfway through the process,” Belichick said. “I think to this point, we’€™ve covered a lot of things. There’€™s certainly a lot more to do and a lot of work left on the coaching end, on the playing end and just the overall logistics and the whole week. We’€™ll see how it all comes together. I think we’€™re in a good place right now, but we’€™ve got a long way to go.”

Belichick spoke of the threats provided by Seattle’€™s offense, specifically running back Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson.

Lynch ran for 157 yards in Seattle’€™s come-from-behind overtime victory over the Packers in the NFC Championship. The Pats are plenty familiar with Lynch, as he spent the first four years of his career in the AFC East as a member of the Buffalo Bills. Belichick agreed that Lynch is one of the harder backs to bring down in the NFL.

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Appearing on Dale & Holley, Tedy Bruschi fires back at critics of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Patriots

01.26.15 at 4:20 pm ET
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Speaking on his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley Show, Tedy Bruschi offered an impassioned take on both nationwide analysis of Deflategate, and critics of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots.

When asked if Bruschi has ever known Belichick or Brady to be cheaters, responded succinctly, saying, “I’€™ll answer that question. No I don’€™t. I know I have not. I won’€™t expound on it but just give you the word ‘€˜no.’€™”

Here are Bruchi’s other comments:

Regarding some of the criticism coming from his fellow ESPN analysts

“I think it’€™s a very difficult position for me to be on set with certain people that said certain things that of course I was listening to and I heard. Every man is entitled to their opinion. I disagree with them as strongly as I possibly can because I’€™ve been in this organization for 13 years. Tom Brady, I know. Bill Belichick, I know. If vouch is the word, vouch is the word I’€™ll use. I vouch for these guys. I know their character. There isn’€™t anything more that they can do or they can say in terms of what they know what happened.”

On how Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have been viewed through recent controversy

“What is this year all been about? It’€™s been about that word transparency. NFL transparency. Ray Rice. Adrian Peterson. Everything. We want to know. We want to know what happened. We want to know the investigation, everything. After this happened there wasn’€™t one line from Bill or Tom that said, ‘€˜There’€™s an NFL investigation going on and we have to wait and out of the respect for the investigation we can’€™t comment.’€™ That’€™s an easy out. That’€™s an easy out they could have used. But they want to be as transparent as they possibly could to say, ‘€˜This is what we know. This is what we’€™ve done. I’€™m telling you this did not happen.’€™ And Bill is out there conducting his own investigation. Lord knows what he did to those balls, rubbing them, having the quarterback do whatever they did to them. They were as transparent as they possibly could be. What more do you want from them?

“There are just certain opinions about the New England Patriots out there because somebody’€™s team got beat. Marty Hurney, your team got beat. That’€™s all it us. Move on. But you want to talk about and you want to bring it up because you need some reason why as to why you were beat. But this is the reason why: you were outcoached and you were outplayed.

“I can’€™t change the way that they think or the way that they feel. SpyGate is over and done with. Bill even addressed it in his press conference on Saturday. I had to do a lot of things individually to protect our signals because I was the signal-caller. We take the bullet for that, so be it. We move on, we paid the price and continue to win games. We thought we put it all to bed by almost going 19-0 but we didn’€™t do it. So people want answers. That’€™s just the way it is. I try and stay as level-headed as I possibly can about it. It’€™s impossible to not get emotional at times. ‘€¦ When it comes down to it I just have to be as level-headed as I possibly can about it and feel very confident.

“We won, that’€™s the bottom line. And that team is still continuing to win and people want their own justification as to why. Why? You were outcoached, you were outplayed. End of story.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Patriots, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady



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