|Patriots announce individual tickets on sale July 14||06.16.16 at 1:11 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There will be a chance to buy tickets to Patriots games this year.
As has been the case in years past, a limited number of individual game tickets will be put on sale for the general public on Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. through Ticketmaster.
When those tickets are sold, it will mark the 23rd consecutive season that the Patriots have sold out every game prior to the start of the season, extending the current streak to 249 consecutive games by season’s end. The streak began in 1994, the year Robert Kraft purchased the franchise, and includes preseason, regular season and postseason games.
The Patriots annually cap season ticket sales, leaving a limited number in reserve for Patriots fans who wish to purchase individual game tickets. All ticket orders will be processed exclusively through Ticketmaster. Tickets will not be sold at the Gillette Stadium Ticket Office.
Ticket orders can be completed online at Ticketmaster, or by phone by calling 800-745-3000. Visa, a Patriots and NFL sponsor, will once again be the only form of payment accepted to purchase Patriots tickets. Purchases will be limited to four tickets per game. In recent years, all tickets to regular season games sold out within minutes.
For wheelchair accessible seating, the number is 508-384-9191. The Patriots have once again limited sales to four tickets per game.
|Back on the field, Dion Lewis learns to ‘cherish football’ and work hard to re-gain his form||06.13.16 at 3:22 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No one would blame Dion Lewis if he felt sorry for himself after his ACL tear last Nov. 8 against the Redskins at Gillette Stadium.
After all, this was a player who had a broken leg in the preseason of 2013 that kept him out of NFL regular season game action until last season.
That’s when the Patriots decided to make him a big part of their offense and a key weapon out of the backfield. The Patriots finally had their change-of-pace back who could run between the tackles, run to the edge and catch passes in the flat and in wheel routes.
Then his left knee gave out on a cut in the first half against Washington and his heart sank. At the time, no one not named Tom Brady accounted for more yards from scrimmage than Lewis. He caught 36 passes on 50 targets for 388 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two rushing touchdowns to go with 234 yards on 49 carries in his seven games.
“I knew it was bad. I never hurt my knee before. I knew it was bad,” said Lewis, who made his return to the practice field Monday during the final week of OTAs before training camp this summer. “I was upset. The pain wasn’t really that bad. It was just the fact that I wasn’t going to be out there and playing with my teammates. That’s what hurt the most.
“It was tough. I love the game. Being away, it meant a lot. It hurt a lot. I just wanted to work as hard as I can this offseason, rehab as hard as I can and hopefully, I’ll have a lot of fun in September.”
Lewis has always appreciated the game he loves. But now that appreciation has reached a new level.
“Just cherish football,” Lewis said Monday after OTA practice. “I love football. When I was away from it, it sucked, so I just told myself I was going to work as hard as possible to be back as fast as possible. I’m just still trying to get better and stronger every day.
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|Rob Gronkowski on his return to field: ‘Everything’s all smooth. Everything’s good’||06.13.16 at 2:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The smile told it all Monday afternoon outside Gillette Stadium.
Rob Gronkowski broke into his trademark grin as he addressed reporters for the second time in three days but for the first time since returning to the practice field Monday during OTAs.
“It felt great. It’s always good to be out there with your teammates, working with your teammates in individual drills, team drills,” Gronkowski said. “Just being out there, getting on the same page and just going into a flow with them. It’s always good to get back on the field.”
Gronkowski spent most of the session working on passing drills with Tom Brady and new tight end Martellus Bennett. Then he took some turns lining up in two-minute drills with no defense. He took part in a limited number of reps with the offense as they lined up in the non-contact, no pads practice against the defense.
Gronkowski also indicated, when asked, that last week’s absence at mandatory mini-camp was not necessarily injury-related and that he was with the team at Gillette Stadium.
“I was just doing other things, as Coach said, last week,” Gronkowski said. “Everything’s good. We were just working on other things. Everything’s all smooth, everything’s good.”
So what, exactly, is the biggest value at this point of OTAs to him?
“The biggest value is consistency, going out there and making sure you’re still on the same page,” he said. “You don’t want to lose it. You want to keep on getting gains. You want to improve on improving, go out there and make sure to knock all the rust out, we’re always on the same page and just don’t lose it. So, keep going out, working hard and getting better.”
Gronkowski said this year doesn’t feel any different than any other spring OTA sessions since he’s been in New England.
“It’s OTAs. It feels the same every time now, every year, so just go out there, keep your football legs under you, which is great, running routes, stay in football shape,” Gronkowski said. “What is cool about it is it brings the competitiveness out of you. You just can’t go out there in your backyard or just out on the field and just throwing with the quarterbacks. Going versus someone, having someone across from you gets you back in that right feeling, like it’s a game.”
Gronkowski said he’s pumped about sharing time with Bennett.
“It’s great. It’s great to be out there with him,” he said. “It’s another guy that brings a lot of football knowledge to the game, in the meeting rooms. I think he’s going on his ninth year. He has so much experience and he’s been with a few teams, been with a few coaches. He’s played all around. So, it’s great to get so much knowledge from him and the coaches. And going out on the field, he’s a hard worker. He puts some dedication in so it’s great to be with him out there.”
|Devin McCourty really likes what he’s sees from young DBs: ‘Those guys are really learning’||06.10.16 at 11:59 am ET|
FOXBORO — For Devin McCourty, this is a great time to be a leader in the Patriots’ secondary.
After spending the last several weeks and mini-camp this week with first and second-year members of the defensive backfield, the newlywed veteran safety is pumped up about what he’s seeing.
In addition to working with second-round pick Cyrus Jones, the eight-year pro McCourty has been playing alongside the likes of Darryl Roberts (2015 pick from Marshall), Jordan Richards (2015 pick from Stanford) and Brock Vereen (third year pro from Minnesota). Malcolm Butler and Justin Coleman are also entering just their third NFL season.
The natural question after Thursday’s final day of mini-camp was to get a feel for how Jones, a projected slot corner, has adapted from Alabama to the Patriots secondary.
“He’s another one of the smart guys from Alabama,” McCourty said with his trademark smile. “Between him and [Dont’a] Hightower, he knows his stuff. It’s been good. He’s been out there. He’s been trying to learn. [He’s] a younger guy so things happen fast but I think he’s been able to adjust and adapt. When he makes mistakes, he’s still out there playing hard. He’s correcting them. He’s a young guy that’s really working hard.”
But then unsolicited, McCourty raved about what it’s been like for veterans like Chung and him to work with a new generation of defensive backs, which now includes Butler, Jones, Richards and Roberts.
“The exciting thing is that we have a ton of rookies in that corner group that have been out here making plays, mini-camp, OTAs, those guys are really learning and they’re not making a ton of mistakes,” McCourty added. “I think it’s really exciting to see them as a group, DBs, safeties and corners.”
While Richards garnered a lot of attention last year and Butler stole the show in Super Bowl XLIX, Roberts was someone who caught the eye of McCourty in mini-camp and OTAs last summer before a wrist injury ended his season in training camp.
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|Even Bill Belichick impressed with the receivers: ‘They’ve all showed up and made plays down the field’||06.09.16 at 4:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — This week in minicamp has been a chance for the receivers behind Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to step up.
According to Bill Belichick after the final mini-camp practice on Thursday, that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The quintet of Aaron Dobson, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Keshawn Martin and Nate Washington have looked good without the pads on.
All five of those receivers made big plays over the three days, including Dobson and Mitchell, both of whom made acrobatic catches in the end zone for touchdowns. Belichick was taking note.
“Our receivers have been good. We have good competition at that position and they’ve all showed up and made plays down the field, caught the ball well. It’s been good,” Belichick said.
And while Washington is new to the team he’s not new to the type of offense the Patriots run. His experience with former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in Houston showed up this week, as he looked like a receiver comfortable with the routes.
“[With] Nate, they played it in Houston, so he’s kind of familiar with it,” Belichick said. “Those guys have done a good job. I think our receiver group overall has done well – gotten open, caught the ball. Nate and Keshawn have both done a good job.”
Belichick, meanwhile, surprised no one when he didn’t offer an update on the status of tight end/tackle Michael Williams. The Globe’s Jim McBride reported Thursday that Williams suffered an ACL tear on Wednesday and might be headed to injured reserve.
“I don’t think we’re doing injury reports here,” Belichick said. “Maybe the league will require us to do those.”
One of those who might step forward with Williams out is newcomer Clay Harbor.
“Professional. Works hard. He’s a versatile guy,” Belichick said of Harbor. “He’s done a lot of different things. Philadelphia and Jacksonville, he did the same thing, special teams and offense. Hopefully a number of roles if he can do them and get an opportunity to do them.”
|James Develin thanks Bill Belichick, Tom Brady for pulling him through tough times||06.07.16 at 8:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When James Develin went down with a broken right leg in the penultimate preseason game last August in Charlotte, he really had no idea was the future held.
He was in the last year of his contract but as a show of loyalty, the Patriots held onto the valuable fullback/H-back while he went through a grueling rehab process inside the confines of Gillette Stadium.
While Develin, the Brown University product, watched from the sidelines, the Patriots went with a faster game in the backfield, opting to run with names like Dion Lewis, James White and LeGarrette Blount. The closest thing the Patriots came to Develin last year was Joey Iosefa, who joined the active roster in Decemb
All the while, coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were there to offer their support to the veteran who turns 28 on July 23.
“It’s a huge thing. It’s nice to hear that from guys but any kind of wisdom a guy like Tom or even Coach Belichick can pass along my way, that’s a great piece, and I’ll treasure it,” Develin said.
When January rolled around and the Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC championship, it was time to part ways. That separation lasted just under two months, until the Patriots signed him to a one-year, $750,000 contract on March 7. But it was a long six weeks for Develin.
“I’m very, very happy to be a Patriot,” Develin said after mini-camp Tuesday. “It was a process that I didn’t enjoy, the whole free agency process. I’m glad to be back out here and glad to be out here with my team.”
Now, Develin is ready to assume the handyman role he had before the injury last Aug. 28.
“It’s kind of whatever they need me to do, I’m going to go out there and do it to the best of my ability. Really anything. If they call on me whatever it might be to do that week or throughout the year, I’m just going to go out there and do it to the best of my ability.”
|Jimmy Garoppolo ‘going in the right direction,’ plays it down the middle with Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett||06.07.16 at 8:00 pm ET|
FOXBORO — This June has a somewhat different feel for Jimmy Garoppolo.
The quarterback out of Eastern Illinois is entering his third season with the Patriots and may or may not be the Patriots starting quarterback on Sept. 11 in Arizona.
Like last year, he is preparing for the season with a huge legal cloud of uncertainty hanging over Tom Brady and his playing eligibility.
Unlike last year, he has another quarterback behind him in mini-camp in rookie Jacoby Brissett. But as Garoppolo met with the media following Tuesday’s first mini-camp workout outside Gillette Stadium, the would-be Brady back-up said he’s trying to repeat the Spring and Summer of 2015 when he took everything in stride.
“Pretty much the same. Going about my business the same way. Just coming out here and trying to get better every day,” Garoppolo said. “We’ve been pretty fortunate so far. We’ve had good weather and everything. We’ve had good weather and everything. Practice has been going well. Just have to keep rolling the way we are. Obviously, experience always helps. But to be honest, it really doesn’t change much for me. Whether it happened last year or it didn’t happen, I’m pretty much going about it the same way. Just enjoying the process right now and trying to get through OTAs.
“I think [progress is] going the right way, going in the right direction. Obviously, there’s a long way to go. I’m only going into Year 3 now, there’s tons of things to improve on. If we just keep going the right way, we’ll be all right.”
Garoppolo made it clear that he feels much more comfortable running the offense.
“No question. I think it’s going really good, to be honest,” Garoppolo said. “I know all the guys. Guys know me. You learn defenses. It’s not like I’m picking up a playbook for the first time. I can remember back to rookie OTAs. It was night and day. It’s going well.”
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