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Rob Gronkowski: Building cohesiveness with any QB boils down to ‘working together’ 07.30.15 at 1:44 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski speaks to media after Thursday's camp practice in Foxboro. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Rob Gronkowski speaks to media after Thursday’s camp practice in Foxboro. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — When it comes to adjusting to working with Jimmy Garoppolo as opposed to Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski said that it boils down to a simple formula.

“It’s just (about) going out there and working hard,” Gronkowski said following practice Thursday. “When we get our reps together, we have to go out there and get our chemistry down. Obviously, every quarterback throws a little different, and going out there and knowing the way he throws and knowing where the ball is going to be (is key). But it’s just about working together and getting the reps in together.”

Gronkowski, who wouldn’t comment on the possibility of whether or not Brady will open the season, was more interested in talking about his own situation. Thursday marked the first training camp of the summer for Gronkowski and the rest of the roster. This is a unique camp for the tight end, as it marks the first one since the year following his rookie season where he hasn’t had to worry about rehabbing an injury.

Instead, he’s been freed to get in as much work as possible. On Thursday, he was a frequent target of both Brady and Garoppolo, as the two quarterbacks got in plenty of reps throwing to a variety of pass catchers.

“It feels great to be back out on the field with the team — doing individual drills, team drills,” he said. “Just getting back out there together. Just going out there and working with all the tight ends.

“It felt great. It always feels great to get back out on the football field,” he added. “It’s definitely a refreshing feeling to get back out here and play some ball.”

Gronkowski is getting used to working alongside veteran free-agent pickup Scott Chandler, who arrived from Buffalo in the offseason.

“Working with Scott is great — a hard worker,” he said. “He bring a lot of attitude to the field. As a tight end group, we love to come out here and work hard.”

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

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Tom Brady
Thursday morning training camp notes: Patriots open practice in sweltering heat 07.30.15 at 11:50 am ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up their first practice of training camp, a hot and steamy morning session on the fields behind Gillette Stadium.

It was a practice that went for two-plus hours, with players in helmets, sweats and shorts. It’ll be a dicey practice report because players were not wearing numbers. In addition, as the newest CBA dictated, there were no pads for the first day of camp. As a result, the workout results need to be taken with a massive grain of salt. But there were a few things that really stood out on the first day.

Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo got a nice hand as they walked on the practice field, with Brady drawing the biggest cheers when he hit the top stop on his way out to the workout. Brady drew big applause throughout the morning, regardless of whether or not he was working in individual throwing drills alongside Garoppolo and firing passes to a ballboy or taking part in 11-on-11 drills. He got an especially big cheer toward the end of practice when he took off on a play and ran for a touchdown in a short-yardage situation.

At least initially, it appeared that Brady was working with the starting offense at the far end of the field, while Garoppolo was with the No. 2 offense. Later in practice, Brady and Garoppolo alternated, moving from one practice field to another. Garoppolo was picked off on one of his pass attempts in a 7-on-7 session, but he bounced back and managed to deliver some nice throws, including a sweet fade on a touchdown pass to an unidentified receiver in the corner of the end zone. (Later in that same drill, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski on a crossing route over the middle, a really impressive throw.)

In 11-on-11s toward the end of practice, the two quarterbacks traded snaps. In the first series, Brady went 5-for-6, including a really nice pass over the middle to Edelman and a trick play where the quarterback ended up coasting into the end zone for a touchdown. Garoppolo then took over and went 5-for-5 on a sequence that was punctuated by a touchdown pass to Gronkowski where he wrestled the ball away from a defensive back. Brady them jumped back in and went 4-for-6 on a series that ended with a touchdown pass to Edelman. Garoppolo went 3-for-5 to wrap things up.

The two quarterbacks were then separated in two-minute work. In the first series, Brady appeared really sharp, going 7-for-7 with a touchdown pass to Gronkowski. On the other side, Garoppolo went 7-for-8 on a drive that saw an unidentified offensive linemen jump offsides. After a quick break, they came back in the other direction and Garoppolo was 5-for-6, including a deep ball for Brian Tyms that was overthrown.

However, this is important note: When the real difference-makers in the passing game were assembled in the corner of the field working on red-zone situations, it was Brady and not Garoppolo who was leading a group that included Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. (It was also interesting to see that without Brandon LaFell on the field, Aaron Dobson was with that grouping as well.)

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NFLPA files appeal in Minnesota court to force Roger Goodell to lift Tom Brady’s 4-game ban 07.29.15 at 7:41 pm ET
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The NFLPA filed an appeal Wednesday on behalf of Tom Brady in U.S. District Court of Minnesota to vacate the four-game suspension upheld by commissioner Roger Goodell based on the following points, directly from their press release.

— There was no direct evidence in the Wells Report so the discipline was based on a made up “general awareness” standard to justify such absurd and unprecedented punishment.

— Roger Goodell delegated his disciplinary authority to Troy Vincent, violating our Collective Bargaining Agreement, and then as the “arbitrator,” he ruled on his own improper delegation, botching basic arbitration law and fundamental fairness.

— A collectively bargained policy already exists regarding tampering with equipment that provides only for fines, not suspensions. Troy Vincent ignored this policy when he issued his initial discipline. The policy that Vincent did apply to Brady only covers teams and team executives, not players. The NFL once again violated players’ right to advance notice of discipline to try to justify unprecedented punishment.

— No player in NFL history has served a suspension for “non-cooperation” or “obstruction.”  And, in this case, the evidence is paper-thin.

— The appeals hearing held on June 23, 2015 defied any concept of fundamental fairness and violated the principles of our CBA.

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

Read More: Deflategate, NFLPA, roger goodell,
Patriots place 3 on NFI list, including running back LeGarrette Blount 07.29.15 at 5:57 pm ET
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LeGarrette Blount was placed on the NFI list Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

LeGarrette Blount was placed on the NFI list Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

The Patriots placed running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive lineman Alan Branch and offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann on the non-football injury list on Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire.

No reason was given for the move, but players who have been placed on NFI prior to the start of camp in year’s past have often found themselves there because they have failed the conditioning test and/or their physical. (Players on the non-football injury list are there because they are classified as unable to practice as a result of conditions unrelated to football. They are eligible to return to the practice field at any time.)

In addition, the transaction wire revealed that the Patriots came to terms with exclusive rights free agent James Develin. The fullback has been with New England the last three seasons. And the team officially announced the signing of veteran cornerback Tarell Brown. The 30-year-old Brown is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Niners (2007-13) and Raiders (2014). The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has played in 114 games with 61 starts and has tallied 295 total tackles, 11 interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, 59 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

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

Read More: Alan Branch, Caylin Hauptmann, James Develin, LeGarrette Blount
Report: NFL offered reduced suspension for Tom Brady if QB admitted guilt 07.28.15 at 9:39 pm ET
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According to a Tuesday night report from Pro Football Talk, the NFL was willing to drop Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension by “at least 50 percent” if the quarterback agreed to three major points: one, he admitted to having knowledge of whatever John Jastremski and Jim McNally were doing to the footballs. Two, he admitted to failing to cooperate with the Ted Wells investigation. And three, he apologized.

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

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,
Tom Brady’s agent slams Roger Goodell, says ‘appeal process was a sham’ 07.28.15 at 4:56 pm ET
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Tom Brady‘s agent Don Yee issued the following statement via ESPN’s Adam Schefter Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the league’s decision to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension:

“The Commissioner’s decision is deeply disappointing, but not surprising because the appeal process was thoroughly lacking in procedural fairness.

“Most importantly, neither Tom nor the Patriots did anything wrong. And the NFL has no evidence that anything inappropriate occurred.

“The appeal process was a sham, resulting in the Commissioner rubber-stamping his own decision. For example, the Wells investigative team was given over 100 days to conduct its investigation. Just days prior to the appeal hearing, we were notified that we would only have four hours to present a defense; therefore, we didn’t have enough time to examine important witnesses. Likewise, it was represented to the public that the Wells team was ‘independent,’ however, when we requested documents from Wells, our request was rejected on the basis of privilege. We therefore had no idea as to what Wells found from other witnesses, nor did we know what those other witnesses said.

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Read More: Deflategate, don yee, Tom Brady,
NFL upholds Tom Brady’s 4-game Deflategate suspension 07.28.15 at 2:40 pm ET
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The NFL announced Tuesday that Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension has been upheld.

The league issued the following statement:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld today the four-game suspension imposed on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on May 11. Brady’s appeal from that discipline was heard for more than ten hours on June 23. In the opinion informing Brady that his appeal had been denied, Commissioner Goodell emphasized important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing.

On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone. During the four months that the cell phone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.

Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules. The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.

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

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,
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