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OL Jonathan Cooper carted off during practice after injury 07.30.16 at 10:27 am ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper was taken from the practice field on a cart during Saturday’s training camp practice following what appeared to be a right ankle or foot injury.

Cooper appeared to sustain the injury roughly halfway through Saturday’s practice, the first fully padded session of the summer for the Patriots.

The 6-foot-2, 311-pounder was traded to New England in the offseason deal that shipped defensive end Chandler Jones to Arizona. The 26-year-old Cooper was a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2013.

UPDATE, 11:05 a.m.: It appears to be a plantar fascia issue for Cooper.

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

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It’s only July, and you can already put together a list of Martellus Bennett’s best quotes while in a Patriots’ uniform 07.30.16 at 9:23 am ET
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Martellus Bennett had an appreciation for Tom Brady even before he joined the Patriots. (Getty Images)

Martellus Bennett had an appreciation for Tom Brady even before he joined the Patriots. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Martellus Bennett was acquired this offseason by the Patriots via a trade with the Bears, but the tight end has already distinguished himself as a quality pass-catcher and a terrific quote. Here are our five favorites to this point in his New England career:

“I’ve dated two girls at the same time before.” — on building chemistry at the same time with two quarterbacks he’s never worked with

“Dr. Seuss said, ‘No one can be you-er than you.’ Oscar Wilde said, ‘Be yourself, because everyone else is taken.’ I can only be one person. I just try and continue to be who I am and don’t change that. I’m a little chameleon. I just try and fit in wherever I am. When you’re authentic, people appreciate that.” — Bennett on whether or not he’ll mesh with the Patriots’ culture

“Just like any other thing in life, you just prepare to make sure you flow where the wind goes. Try to be a dandelion.” — on whether or not he was surprised he was traded

“I just tell them every day, ‘Man, you guys are lucky. You guys have been playing with Tom Brady forever.’” — on speaking with his new teammates about getting the chance to work with Brady

“Football is just fun. Anytime you get to play is exciting. I ended up on IR, in like, November, so I really haven’t had that much football for a long time,” he said. “It’s like when you break up and finally get back with the girl that you love in the first place. It’s been great to be back out there.” — on returning to the game after a stint on injured reserve in 2015

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Jamie Collins returns to practice field, says contract will ‘take care of itself’ 07.29.16 at 3:11 pm ET
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FOXBORO — After an apparently excused absence that managed to get him out of first day of training camp, linebacker Jamie Collins was back on the field with the rest of his teammates on Friday.

Collins talked with the media following Friday’s workout, and said that while he understands why his absence was perceived as a big deal, he wasn’t going to offer any information as to why he wasn’t at practice with the rest of his teammates.

“That’s my business,” he said.

The linebacker is one of a handful of potential free agents who will be up for a new deal prior to the start of the 2017 season, a group that includes Dont’a Hightower and Jabaal Sheard. Reportedly, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about a new deal for Collins yet when it comes to him re-upping in New England. On Friday, he didn’t sound like a guy in a rush to get a new contract completed.

“I’m just handling business, man,” Collins said. “That’ll take care of itself.”

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

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Martellus Bennett on working with 2 new QBs: ‘I’ve dated 2 girls at the same time before’ 07.29.16 at 1:25 pm ET
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FOXBORO — When it comes to developing chemistry with two different — and new — quarterbacks at the same time, Martellus Bennett doesn’t see an issue.

“I’ve dated two girls at the same time before,” the tight end said with a smile shortly after Friday morning practice.

There are only two training camp workouts in the books, and the pads have yet to go on, but it’s been hard not to notice Bennett’s impact, regardless of who is throwing him the ball. He had a dynamite catch the back of the end zone over Patrick Chung on a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in 7-on-7 work on Friday, and has showed a nice chemistry with Tom Brady in all phases of work, including their side sessions that also feature Rob Gronkowski.

“Football is just fun. Anytime you get to play is exciting. I ended up on IR, in like, November, so I really haven’t had that much football for a long time,” he said. “It’s like when you break up and finally get back with the girl that you love in the first place. It’s been great to be back out there.”

He said Friday that working with Garoppolo has been “cool,” but it sounds like he’s been blown away by his experience with Brady.

“He’s been competitive even when we’ve been working out,” he said. “He plays at such a high level that you have to match that level. Oil and vinegar don’t mix. You just have to make sure that you rise to the top when he rises to the top as well.”

He also reminds some of his new teammates just how lucky they are.

“I just tell them every day, ‘Man, you guys are lucky. You guys have been playing with Tom Brady forever.’”

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

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Martellus Bennett, Tom Brady,
When it comes to quarterback reps, Rob Gronkowski says it’s business as usual 07.28.16 at 12:35 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tight end Rob Gronkowski said that when it comes to dividing the QB reps with the Patriots, there’s been nothing out of the ordinary. At least as far as he can tell.

“It’s not a difference at all. Not a change at all. It’s training camp,” Gronkowski said after the first full day of camp workouts on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. “You take reps with every single quarterback — Jacoby [Brissett], Tom [Brady], Jimmy [Garoppolo]. Whoever it is, every single year in camp. It’s not like I just sit there and go with the same players every single time. I’m rotating with all the quarterbacks.”

He added: “However it is, it’s all in the coaches’ decision. But what I have to do is make sure I’m prepared and get open on the route whoever the quarterback is.”

Asked about the confidence level in Garoppolo, Gronkowski shrugged.

“We’re super-confident in whoever is in there,” he said. “That’s what practice is for. That’s what training camp is for. For everyone to get on the same page. It’s great to get, the first day, get our feet wet a little bit. Get reps with everyone, all three quarterbacks. So far, it’s going well. But a lot to improve on, for sure.”

Gronkowski said that he’s been able to build a relationship with Garoppolo the last two years.

“It definitely started two years ago,” he said. “I’ve gone with Jimmy many times — thrown with him many times out at practice. just get that chemistry going and go out on the field, get those reps together, go do one-on-one sessions together. Just throw like we always do. Just like any other process — repetition, so everyone is on the same page.”

As for Brady, Gronkowski seemed to suggest that the looming suspension is not have much of an impact on Brady’s overall work habits.

“Whatever circumstance you put Tom in, he’s never going to change,” Gronkowski said. “He’s going to come out to practice, no matter what, if he’s suspended, if he’s not suspended. If he’s playing, if he’s not playing. No matter what the circumstances are, I have never seen Tom Brady come out and not give it all in practice. There’s never a change in him. Whenever he’s on the field, he’s giving it his all. He’s such a competitor.”

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

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, training camp 2016
Heat is on as Patriots open training camp Thursday in Foxboro 07.28.16 at 11:25 am ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots opened camp Thursday. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady and the Patriots opened camp Thursday. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

FOXBORO — The Patriots got training camp started in earnest on Thursday, as they ran through a workout in sweltering July heat on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The session was held in shorts and shells, and ran for just over two hours.

There were several players in various stages of rehab on the field and not in pads — including wide receiver Julian Edelman, offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer and Tre’ Jackson and defensive lineman Alan Branch. However, the following players were not spotted on the field: Dion Lewis, Nate Ebner and Jamie Collins. (Special teams captain Matthew Slater was wearing Ebner’s No. 43.) Cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Duron Harmon were in red jerseys.

The quarterback reps? To use Thursday as a referendum on what direction the Patriots are headed when it comes to which signal-caller is the priority right now on the calendar would be borderline irresponsible: All three quarterbacks were all over the field throughout the workout, and the pads don’t go on until this weekend. From this viewpoint, it appeared that the reps were divided fairly evenly. The biggest takeaway came just over an hour into there workouts, when Tom Brady, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski split from the rest of the group and spent time working together on the practice field under the watchful eye of tight ends coach Brian Daboll. (While this was going on, Aaron Dobson, Malcolm Mitchell and Nate Washington were catching passes from rookie Jacoby Brissett.) Brady also appeared to be spending some quality time with new tight end Bear Pascoe.

Shea McClellin and Rob Ninkovich were able to flash some versatility. Ninkovich, who has lined up in multiple spots in the past, spent plenty of time working with the defensive linemen. Meanwhile, McClellin was also shuffled from spot to spot on the field. (Ninkovich was also at inside linebacker in the 7-on-7 work.) While it’s still early, based on Thursday’s action, as well as the spring workouts, it’s clear the Patriots are anticipating using them at multiple spots this fall.

Keshawn Martin, Cyrus Jones and Chris Harper all got work as punt returners.

Brady drew a big cheer in 7-on-7 red-zone work when he connected first with rookie Devin Lucien and then with Gronkowski. He later connected with Bennett in the end zone on multiple occasions, but saw one pass to Gronkowski dropped. Grapple then came on and hit young tight end A.J. Derby on a nice pass play, but a pass for Keshawn Martin was broken up neatly by Justin Coleman. Brady, Garoppolo and Brissett had balls knocked down by a staffer at the line of scrimmage, but Brissett and Lucien showed a nice chemistry, working together on multiple pass plays. The 7-on-7 work concluded with a nifty Garoppolo-to-Gronkowski touchdown pass that drew big cheers from fans.

On the other side of the ball in the 7-on-7s, it was hard not to notice Jones working in the slot alongside the likes of starting defensive backs Devin McCourty and Malcolm Butler. It’s early, but he looks very comfortable.

Garoppolo got first crack at the end of practice when 11-on-11 work began, and had a couple of nice pass plays, including one play where Aaron Dobson hauled in a one-handed grab. (While this was going on, Brady was standing and talking with owner Robert Kraft.) Brady took over and found Harper in the back of the end zone. Later in the sequence, Jordan Richards also made a terrific play knocking a pass away from Gronkowski. Brady followed that up with a really impressive hookup with Chris Hogan in the corner of the end zone over Jones, and a touchdown pass to Gronkowski.

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History Lesson: Bill Belichick’s coaching longevity rooted in consistency, adaptability 07.27.16 at 5:57 pm ET
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Bill Belichick begins his 42nd season in the NFL this month. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick begins his 42nd season in the NFL this month. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — To give you some perspective as to just how long Bill Belichick has been in the NFL, when the Patriots meet the Dolphins this year, Belichick will square off against a head coach in 38-year-old Adam Gase who wasn’t even born when Belichick took his first job as an assistant in the league.

This week marks the start of Belichick’s 42nd consecutive year in the National Football League, the last 17 of which have come as head coach of the Patriots. The longest-tenured head coach in the league with his current team (the closest is Cincy’s Marvin Lewis, who took over the Bengals in 2003), it’s a remarkable run for any coach in the NFL.

When it comes to stacking his resume against some of the greats of the game, entering the 2016 season, he’s at 223 career wins as a head coach, tops among all active coaches and fourth on the all-time list. This season, he’ll move past Curly Lambeau (at 226, fourth) on the all-time wins list, and will almost certainly pass Tom Landry (third with 250 career victories) before he’s done. While you never say never, it would probably take at least another decade for him to come anywhere near the likes of Don Shula (first, 328 career wins) or George Halas (second with 318 wins).

The 64-year-old Belichick, who first went to training camp as an special assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1975 at the age of 23, has been working in the league ever since. He said that when it comes to coaching, there’s some carryover in preparation and approach. But in his experience, his approach over the previous 41 seasons has been to take each one as its own animal.

“Fundamentally I think a lot of things are the same; things you have to do in camp in order to prepare for a season,” he said Wednesday at the dawn of a new season. “But each year is different. Players are different, teams we play are different, things change in the league, there are some rule modifications, or whatever. Things like that. So, every year is different and the chemistry – each team is different. Even with some of the same players there’s still always a little bit of a different mix.”

According to one of his most senior assistants, Belichick’s consistent approach and a willingness to adapt have been key in getting him to this point.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Dante Scarnecchia, Ivan Fears, Matthew Slater
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