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Report: Tom Brady appeal to be heard June 23 05.29.15 at 5:33 pm ET
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Finally there is a date to Tom Brady‘s appeal for his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the quarterback’s appeal will be heard June 23 and possibly continue June 25. It will reportedly be with Commissioner Roger Goodell, even after the NFLPA requested Goodell rescue himself from hearing the appeal.

The Patriots will be finished with their mandatory minicamp as that wraps up June 18.

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Read More: Deflategate, roger goodell, Tom Brady,
Rob Gronkowski: ‘[Tom Brady] comes out here and competes every single day like nothing happened’ 05.29.15 at 4:41 pm ET
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FOXBORO — With Friday being the first OTA session with media access, and first team activity since the Wells Report and subsequent penalties were handed down, there were sure to be a lot of questions asked about quarterback Tom Brady.

Many of the players, including Rob Gronkowski, didn’t address the topic, simply discussing the team getting ready for the upcoming season.

“My take is that I just gotta keep on doing what I need to do and that’€™s preparing every day coming out here and working as hard as I can,” Gronkowski said. “Doing my job out on the field every single day. Whatever goes on with him doesn’€™t affect how I play or I prepare. I’€™m just really worried about myself right now and what I have to do to help the team out.”

The Patriots tight end, who did quite a bit of work with Brady off to the side on goal line work, was asked if he noticed anything different about the quarterback given he’s suspended for the first four games.

“No difference,” Gronkowksi said. ‘€œHe comes out here and competes every single day like nothing happened.”

Friday certainly won’t be the only time Gronkowski and his teammates will be asked about their quarterback and their thoughts on Deflategate. Gronkowski explained his mindset with how to handle that.

“When there’€™s outside distractions, you gotta block ‘€˜em out,” said Gronkowski. “You gotta come out on the field, you gotta do what you gotta do to help the team out. Just block everything out, come in the stadium like nothing’€™s going on and work hard in the weight room, on the field, in the playbook, wherever it is.”

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Read More: Deflategate, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,
Friday Patriots OTA observations: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo evenly split QB duties 05.29.15 at 4:32 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo split the quarterback duties Friday.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo split the quarterback duties Friday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Here are some quick takeaways from Friday’s OTA practice session, the first open to the media, which was held on the fields behind Gillette Stadium.

— Although attendance was next to impossible to take with the players not wearing numbers, even none on their helmets, here’s an unofficial list of players who weren’t present: Alan Branch, Malcolm Butler, Jamie Collins, AJ Derby, Dont’a Hightower, Chandler Jones, Chris Jones, Brandon LaFell, Jerod Mayo, Sealver Siliga, Matthew Slater, Sebastian Vollmer and Ryan Wendell. Wendell was spotted leaving the field in street clothes as the media filed in.

— Long snapper Joe Cardona, the Patriots’ fifth-round pick this year, was present even though he hasn’t officially signed. Since he is coming out of Navy he needs special clearance to delay his deployment and potentially start his career. There’s no word if that has been approved yet.

— There was a drone flying overhead for the entire session, adding to the cameras already stationed high above the field. The Cowboys were seen using one as well earlier in the week.

— Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo split the snaps fairly evenly between 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. In 11-on-11’s, Brady went 7-for-11, while Garoppolo went 8-for-11. Brady’s favorite target was Julian Edelman, while Garoppolo looked for Aaron Dobson a lot. Brady was as animated as usual, yelling lots of encouragement to his receivers.

— Brady got some goal line work with Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Michael Hoomanawanui and James Develin. The group ran plays without facing a defense.

— On the other end of the field, Jake Bequette caught passes from third-string quarterback Garrett Gilbert. It was reported earlier Friday by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, the defensive end drafted in 2012 will get some action at tight end this summer.

— Running back Jonas Gray appeared to bulk up a great deal in the offseason. He will be in the mix in the back field, which is one of the deepest positions on the roster.

— There was a great deal of special teams work done, led by new coach Joe Judge. Edelman, Danny Amendola and Jonathan Krause all got chances to return punts.

— The team will continue with OTAs next Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, with Thursday’s session being open to the media.

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Joe Cardona, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady
Brandon Spikes on returning to Patriots: ‘You can clearly see me and The Hoodie kissed and made up’ 05.29.15 at 2:37 pm ET
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Brandon Spikes is back with the Patriots after spending four years with the team before playing with Buffalo last year. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brandon Spikes is back with the Patriots after spending four years with the team before playing with Buffalo last year. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO – Brandon Spikes was a member of the Patriots for four years, but that doesn’t mean things ended well.

The Patriots didn’t re-sign the middle linebacker following the 2013 season and Spikes signed with the Bills where he then took to Twitter and posted: 4 years a slave. Spikes was put on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury at the end of 2013, which reportedly was because he missed practice.

It became clear things didn’t end well between he and Bill Belichick.

Fast forward just over a year and with Spikes a free agent, Belichick and the Patriots scooped him up, with Spikes signing a one-year deal. Following Friday’s OTA practice, he spoke for the first time and wasn’t in the mood to discuss his departure.

“I don’t want to talk about that. You can clearly see me and The Hoodie kissed and made up. I’m here, that’s in the past. I’m moving on,” Spikes said, referring to Belichick.

Even with how things ended, Spikes said he’s looking forward to the season and playing for Belichick again.

“I just look at Bill as a genius,” Spikes said. “He can plug guys in and still be efficient and be productive, top of the league in all categories. That’s what makes him great. Just to have that opportunity to play under the greatest coaches ever is a dream come true and I want to definitely take advantage of it. Let him coach me up ins and outs, everything.

“I’m all ears and happy to be here. It’s that simple, I don’t know how else to put it. I’m honestly in awe to be standing here talking, seeing you guys again, familiar face over the years. It’s nice. Everybody welcomed be back — even the fans, the players, the people upstairs. It was all smiles and hugs. It’s cool.”

Spikes spent one year in Buffalo, playing in all 16 games and finishing with 54 tackles. He said nothing has really changed in the one year he missed.

“It’s the Patriot way, you know how that goes,” Spikes said. “It obviously works and I am just glad to be part of it and get another opportunity to prove I can play here and hold myself accountable to my teammates and coaches. I just want to prove them right.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Spikes,
Julian Edelman to people who dislike Patriots: ‘They hate ya if they ain’t ya’ 05.29.15 at 1:40 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The general consensus among the country is the Patriots are not very well liked, as a recent poll (courtesy of the Washington Post) named the Patriots the second-most hated NFL team.

From winning four Super Bowls in the Bill Belichick era, to Tom Brady‘s success, to the recent Deflategate developments, the nation generally dislikes the Patriots.

Julian Edelman was asked what he thought about people’s dislike of the Patriots and his answer was simple and direct.

“They hate ya if they ain’t ya,” Edelman said following Friday’s OTA session on the back fields of Gillette Stadium.

Brady is faced with a four-game suspension following the release of the Wells Report, although he is appealing. Edelman isn’t even thinking about that.

“We’re not even thinking about the first four games, we’re just focused on trying to get this offense going and learning everyone’s names, trying to learn background information on everyone,” Edelman said. “It’s one of those things where you can’t look into the future, you can’t look into the past. There’s been good things that have happened in the past, there have been bad things that have happened in the past. There are good things that will happen in the future, and bad things that will happen in the future, it’s more about how we can improve today and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

If Brady were to miss time, second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would be in line to step in and start in his place. With the quarterback having to lead the offense and demonstrate leadership qualities, Edelman said he doesn’t think this will be an issue as every member of the Patriots shows leadership qualities in one way or another.

“You see leadership from a lot of people,” Edelman said. “Jimmy has had leadership. Josh Boyce has had leadership. Everyone has had a little bit of leadership. If you come in and work your tail off, you go and try and lead by example. It’s one of those things.”

With the possible suspension hanging over Brady, Edelman was asked what the team can do to show support for him. Again, Edelman brought it back to the team and working on getting better, building on the first part of the offseason, and he didn’t comment on Brady.

“What we can do is try and come out here and get better every day, worry about what we can control,” Edelman said, “What we can control is taking things from what we learned in the classroom and develop them on the field and taking drills to team stuff. That’s what we’re focused on.”

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady,
Report: Patriots-Saints to hold joint practices in West Virginia prior to preseason game 05.28.15 at 11:25 am ET
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Bill Belichick and Saints coach Sean Payton held joint practices at Gillette Stadium prior to their preseason game in 2012, and it looks like they will be doing it again, this time this summer in West Virginia at the Greenbrier resort.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Saints and Patriots will have three practices in West Virginia prior to the August 22 preseason game between the two teams. The game is in New Orleans so after practicing in West Virginia, they will both travel down to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the game.

New Orleans began practicing at the Greenbrier in 2014, providing them an environment with lower temperatures and humidity.

The Patriots had joint practices last season with the Redskins in Washington and the Eagles in Foxboro.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, sean payton,
Shane Vereen: ‘I have the utmost respect for [Tom Brady] as a player and as a person’ 05.28.15 at 10:23 am ET
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Another player is showing their support for Tom Brady.

Even though running back Shane Vereen is now a member of the Giants, the former Patriot is coming out in defense of his former quarterback. Vereen said he had no knowledge of the Patriots’ footballs being deflated.

“I had no awareness of anything that was going on,” Vereen said to the New York Daily News Wednesday. “€œI looked up to Tom. I still do. I think he’€™s a great player. I have the utmost respect for him as a player and as a person. I guess everything will sort itself out.”

Vereen said Brady was one of the first players to reach out to him after he signed with the Giants for three years and just over $12 million.

In regards to Deflategate, some have noted the Patriots’ fumble numbers as they are among the lowest in the league. Vereen said that is a byproduct of hard work in practice.

“We work very hard at our craft,” Vereen said. “We work very hard at holding onto the ball. We did ball drills every day, and I think that’€™s more a product of us and our hard work.”

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