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Report: LeGarrette Blount’s marijuana charge dropped after completing 50 hours of community service 01.30.15 at 11:54 am ET
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PHOENIX — Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount can now fully concentrate on the Sunday’s Super Bowl.

According to the Associated Press, the marijuana charge against Blount that stemmed from an August arrest with former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Le’Veon Bell has been dropped after the Patriots running back completed 50 hours of community service.

The report says he completed those hours with Urban Achievers in Boston. The group’s website says it works to improve “the academic and social outcomes of children living in under-served and under-resourced communities.”

If he didn’t complete the 50 hours, he would have had to appear in court just outside Pittsburgh next week. Blount did have to miss a day of practice earlier in the year because of the case.

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, LeGarrette Blount, Super Bowl XLIX,
Making of a coach: How Bill Belichick became leader he is today 01.30.15 at 1:18 am ET
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There were signs Bill Belichick would become a successful coach one day during his college years at Wesleyan University. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

There were signs Bill Belichick would become a successful coach one day during his college years at Wesleyan University. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Everyone knows the Bill Belichick of today. Twenty seasons as a head coach, 15 of those with New England. Five Super Bowl appearances. Three Super Bowl titles. A very guarded and reserved man at his meetings with the media.

But, what was the coach like 40 years ago, as a 20-year-old college student at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut?

The son of a football coach played three sports at Wesleyan — football, lacrosse and squash, and contrary to what some might believe by where he is today, lacrosse was his best sport.

“He was captain of the team. I trusted him,” said his lacrosse coach, Terry Jackson, over the phone this week. “He did a great job of leading us to the ECAC finals in his senior year.”

“The good thing was we play with a rubber ball and you can’t deflate that,” he joked.

The team fell in the ECAC final that year and Belichick had a strong game, but he wasn’t supposed to even play in the game. Earlier in the year he suffered a thumb injury and the school doctors wouldn’t clear him for the game. Belichick took matters into his own hands and went down to the Naval Academy where his dad was the coach and talked with the doctors there. He got himself cleared and played with a soft cast.

“Such a tough kid,” said Jackson.

On the football field, Belichick wasn’t a star. During Belichick’s senior season as a defensive end/outside linebacker, a star freshman came in and Belichick wasn’t going to see much time, so the coaches tried to make him a tight end so he could see at least some time on the field.

Despite his lack of playing time, it was clear he knew the game — an early sign that coaching could one day be in his future.

“He had very, very insightful questions,” John Biddiscombe, his position coach and former Wesleyan athletic director, said via phone. “His question wouldn’t be where do I line up on this defense — I know where to line up — but what happens if they all of a sudden change their defense into the boundary, what do I do then? Kids don’t ask that at that age. They pretty much do what the coaches ask them to do and line up where they are supposed to line up as the playbook says. I was impressed. He was a very respectful, hard worker, easy to get along with. Just a good guy.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Super Bowl XLIX, Wesleyan University
Bryan Stork (knee) again limited at Patriots practice, Akeem Ayers (ankle) added to injury list 01.29.15 at 9:47 pm ET
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Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

PHOENIX — The Patriots held their second practice in Arizona of the week Thursday afternoon at the Arizona Cardinals‘ practice facility. Despite showers in the area and an option to go indoors, the team practiced outside in shorts and shells.

It was the same report as yesterday, with the exception of Akeem Ayers being added with a knee injury. He was limited. Rookie center Bryan Stork continues to be limited with his knee injury suffered in the divisional round win against the Ravens. All signs continue to point to him playing Sunday.

The pool report, courtesy of USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, says the team worked on special teams, two-minute offense and two-minute defense against scout teams, and spent more time working on red zone offense plays. There were more situational packages, including a sequence that began with Tom Brady and the offense backed up on their 2-yard line.

Belichick seems to be expecting a lot of noise Sunday night, as they blasted loud music, including Ima Boss, a rap song by Meek Mill, featuring Rick Ross.

Here is the complete practice report:

Limited participation

LB Akeem Ayes (knee)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (shoulder)
DT Chris Jones (elbow)
DT Sealver Silga (knee)
C Bryan Stork (knee)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Patriots practice report, Super Bowl XLIX,
What has Tom Brady done to gain his Patriots teammates’ respect? 01.29.15 at 6:49 pm ET
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CHANDLER, Ariz. — Despite Tom Brady‘s elite stature, he doesn’t act like it around the team. Speaking after reportedly restructuring his contract in late December to give the Patriots organization more spending money, he said the only thing he cares about his earning the respect of his teammates.

“I think the motivation is to never let my teammates down,” Brady said. “I want to go out there and be the best I can be for them. Those guys work really hard, and I never want to be the reason why we lose the game. You’€™ve got to put a lot into it and try to go out there every day in practice to try to prove yourself. You earn the respect of your teammates by your work ethic and what you’€™re able to accomplish on a daily basis. That’€™s what football is all about to me.”

So, what has Brady done to earn the respect of his teammates? We asked a number of players on Thursday.

WR Brandon LaFell: “I definitely knew he was great, but on the outside all you see is Sunday’s. I didn’t see what we did Monday-Saturday. When I got here and when I saw us playing a game on the road and we’re flying back and I see him open his laptop and he is looking at film already, I didn’t see that. I didn’t see the amount of work he puts in after practice with our strength coach. I didn’t see the amount of work he put in before practice with our strength coach in the morning. I didn’t know how much detail he took in taking his receivers to the side and have us working on routes and being here and seeing that, that guys works his tail off.”

CB Kyle Arrington: “Tom hasn’t done it yet? Tom doesn’t think he’s done it yet. Leadership. Tom is the ultimate competitor, leader. He’s like Leonidas. You just want to go into battle with that guy. Not comparing that, but as far as leadership goes and the guy you can rally behind whether he’s Leonidas or Braveheart, he’s one of those guys. He’s pretty good.”

WR Brian Tyms: “He showed me his heart, man. I remember a play he had against the Dolphins the second time we played them when he ran for 17 yards and the safety was coming and instead of sliding he dropped the shoulder. I respect that, regardless. He’s 37-38, doing that is amazing to me and the consistency that he shows is that he works hard everyday. You have no choice but to respect that.”

QB Jimmy Garoppolo: “A guy who has been doing it for so long and being so successful at it, he still comes in and he puts in the time, the effort that a rookie would put in. It’s very impressive. That is the reason why he’s so good. To have that mindset is definitely an advantage.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady,
Dont’a Highower compares Nick Saban, Bill Belichick: ‘I literally think they are two peas in a pod’ 01.29.15 at 5:42 pm ET
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Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

CHANDLER, Ariz — Not only are Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Bill Belichick close friends, they also have very similar coaching styles — serious, intelligent, and very successful.

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower has played for both coaches, as he played for Saban at Alabama from 2008-2011 and won two BCS National Championships and then now has played three seasons for Belichick in New England.

“I literally think that they’€™re exactly the same,” Hightower said. “From the way that they run their meetings to the way that we run practice, just the way they address the team. You can definitely tell that Nick learned something from Bill whenever they were at Cleveland and I mean they’€™re still pretty close friends. So, I can only imagine how much more they’€™re alike than what I think. I literally think they are two peas in a pod.”

Hightower said Saban didn’t offer him much advice about playing for Belichick, but the lessons he learned at Alabama paid off.

“I mean just good luck and just do everything that I did when I was at ‘€˜Bama,’€™ (University of Alabama) which was just be a sponge, find an older guy and just to tailpipe him,” said Hightower. “I followed [linebacker Jerod] Mayo. I did whatever Mayo did and I feel like I went about it the right way.”

Playing in two National Championship games at Alabama, Hightower is used to playing in big games and he expects the same from his teammates come Sunday night.

“I hope so, it’€™s the damn Super Bowl,” he said.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Dont'a Hightower, Nick Saban
Katy Perry gives her best Marshawn Lynch impression: ‘I’m just here so I don’t get fined’ 01.29.15 at 5:10 pm ET
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PHOENIX — Marshawn Lynch‘s one-liner’s have been a major theme this week and Katy Perry got involved as well.

The singer held a press conference Thursday to promote her halftime performance during Sunday’s Super Bowl game.

One of the questions asked was if she had her eye on anyone this week.

She replied, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” —  just like Lynch did at media day.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Katy Perry, Super Bowl XLIX,
Brandon Browner: ‘We play a violent game … It is not like we play water polo” 01.29.15 at 3:24 pm ET
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Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Earlier in the week during an interview with ESPN, Brandon Browner said he told teammates to hit Richard Sherman‘s injured elbow.

Things took off from there and the comment has been a major topic of conversation this week. Browner clarified on Thursday that was not his intent to turn into a huge thing, and Sherman as well as his other former Seahawk teammates would not take offense to the comment.

“[I didn’€™t expect it to] blow up the way it did, but at the end of the day I don’€™t regret anything I said because those guys know where I am coming from,” Browner said. “It is about winning the championship. We play a violent game. We play football. It is not like we play water polo or swimming or anything like that. It is a physical game and we want to be as physical with those guys as we can.”

Having spent three seasons in Seattle and being a member of the Legion of Boom secondary, Browner is still close to his former teammates.

“Off the field those are still my brothers,” Browner said. “On the field my brothers are the guys I go to work with every day, guys that put their life on the line for me on Sunday’s. Those are the guys that I am meshing with at this point. Come offseason, those guys will be my friends again.”

Having spent three seasons with the Seahawks, there was a thought of maybe he could help with the game plan and pass on some knowledge from his time there. Browner said Bill Belichick didn’t ask him for any help.

“No, that is Belichick. He is going to cover all corners,” he said. “That is why he is one of the best coaches in this league. I tried to help the guys as I could, but it seemed like Belichick had the guys down pat.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Brandon Browner, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX
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