|Trust exercise: Veteran Tommy Kelly faces next step of rehab process||07.29.14 at 2:00 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tommy Kelly knows that at this point in the process, it’s all about trust.
The 33-year-old defensive tackle, who suffered a season-ending knee injury just five games into the 2013 season, is back in pads for the first time since he went down last October against the Bengals. But he acknowledged after Tuesday morning’s session at Gillette that when it comes to getting all the way back, he needs to prove himself again in the eyes of his coaches and teammates.
“To me, it’s all about gaining their trust. Getting that trust back,” he said. “That’s the only thing I would try and do — just assure Bill [Belichick] and assure [head trainer Jim Whalen], ‘Baby, I’m ready to go.’ They want to do it the way they want to do it, and I’m going to do it exactly the way they want to do it with no problem.
“You have to gain their trust back. I have to get to the point where [Jerod] Mayo knows if he calls a certain call, I’m going to be where I need to be. Or if [defensive coordinator] Matt [Patricia] is going to make a call or Bill, you know what I’m saying? That’s all I’ve been trying to do — just go out there and just practice as hard as I can and show them I don’t have any restrictions on nothing. I can do anything you need me to do. But it’s a process, and I’m going to do the process.”
Of course, Kelly has some experience in this area. In 2007, he suffered another serious knee injury that limited him to seven games. He said Tuesday he knows what’s it’s been like to travel to that “dark place” where an athlete can start to let doubt creep in. But to this point in his rehab, while he understands that’s it’s better to take it too slow than too fast, he said every step in his return has been “positive” when it comes to creating an optimal outcome for his return.
“At the end of the day, [the team is] looking out for your best interest,” he said. “But you know, I’m a vet — I want to get out on the field. I’m the type of guy that I can’t roll out of bed and my game’s going to be great. I have to go out there every day and work on my hands, work on my get-out, work on my explosion, read my keys, so I’m the type of guy, I love practice.”
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|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price on the ‘fearless’ Rob Gronkowski and potential greatness of Patriots secondary||07.25.14 at 4:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the news of the day from Day 2 of Patriots training camp 2014, including Rob Gronkowski speaking to reporters for the first time since being cleared for training camp practice. Gronkowski acknowledged that he is not 100 percent but promises to be fearless, adopting a “smashing and dashing” attitude when he is cleared for game action. Petraglia and Price also discuss the potential of the current Patriots’ secondary to rank among the best in team history and those coached by Bill Belichick.
But on Friday, Mayo was put in that lofty group by Belichick when the Patriots coach was asked about what Mayo means to the Patriots, after missing half of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.
“Yeah, I think he means a lot to our team,” Belichick began. “I’d say he’s really the guy that the team probably revolves around more than any other player. Not that there aren’t other players instrumental in that. He pretty much touches everybody, not just the defensive players but all the guys, and not the just the older guys, the younger guys. Even when he was captain in the second year, he had a relationship with the older guys.
“Now, he’s more a veteran player but he’s still pretty attached to the younger guys like Jamie Collins, [Dont'a] Hightower, guys like that, in addition to players not at his position. He’s got a great work ethic, great presence on the football field, great personality that I would I say in a very good way professional but also has good rapport with all the players and the coaches. He’s as as well-respected as any player in the locker room. I’d say he’s one of the best overall team leaders and players, kind of a glue-chemistry guy, I’ve been around.”
Mayo, the 10th overall pick by the Patriots out of Tennessee in 2008, is already entering his seventh season. He has enjoyed a career that included NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in ’08 and a Super Bowl appearance in February 2012.
On Thursday, Mayo showed some of his leadership by telling everyone that this talented Patriots defense still needs to prove itself on the field. Mayo cautioned that no one knows after just one practice just how good this defensive unit can be until all the pieces are on the field together.
|Bill Belichick: I’ve been ‘impressed’ with Darrelle Revis||07.24.14 at 11:36 am ET|
Speaking before the start of the first training camp practice on Thursday morning, Belichick said he’s been “impressed” with the former Jets and Bucs corner who was acquired as a free agent this past offseason.
“He’s worked hard; smart guy,” Belichick said of Revis. “Very professional. Has a good understanding of the game, he’s a smart player and he’s had a real good focus and instinct. He’s a smart player scheme-wise, but he knows how to play. He’s a very instinctive player.
“He played well at Tampa, he played well at the Jets, and then we saw him in the Pro Bowl. Now we’ve seen him ourselves for 13 practices and the time in the spring. But again, it’s a new year. He’s in a new system, so we’ll see how it all plays out. But I’m glad we have him on our team. I look forward to working with him more.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Rob Gronkowski ‘super excited’ to be back on practice field||07.23.14 at 6:38 pm ET|
Super excited to be back on the practice field with my teammates! Gotta keep on working if ya know what I mean!
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) July 23, 2014
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick couldn’t be happier that the next stage of the football season is upon us. As a matter of fact, in some ways, it’s the most important phase before actual games begin.
Starting Thursday, the Patriots will hold training camp and ramp up their practices and preparation for the 2014 season, which opens Sept. 8 in Miami. And to many Patriots fans, the eve of training camp is somewhat akin to Christmas Eve, the day before they get to see their team on the field for the first time since watching them lose the AFC championship game last January.
“Welcome to football season,” Belichick beamed. “We’re here. It’s always an exciting time of year ‘ the start of training camp. I thought that we had a real productive spring with a lot of our players, a couple new coaching staff members. We’re kind of pulling it all together. That’s really to put us in a position to start camp and we kind of get it going today with some conditioning stuff. We’re not in pads for a couple days and then we’ll roll into them by the weekend. It’s a good opportunity to get off to a good start. We’ll see how it goes.
“We obviously have a lot of work to do. We’ll just take it day by day and try to string some good days together and then see if we can get ready to go down and have good weeks against Washington and Philadelphia and into the preseason. From our coaching standpoint, I think it’s all going to happen pretty fast. Again, the spring preparation has been a really important part of this whole process. Now we’ll take it into the next step and hopefully get off to a good start these next couple days and getting into a good, solid week of work by ourselves and then be ready to work against two quality teams, two quality organizations.”
The Patriots will only be in shorts and shells in the first two days, with the first full pads practice expected by the weekend.
“I think this is where we really start finding out; a lot of teaching in the spring and the evaluations are more now,” Belichick says. “So, we’ll see. I think everybody has had their opportunity to participate in the spring workouts, to learn what we’re doing, to get in shape, to be ready to go and now we start competing and we’ll see how that turns out. I don’t know.”
More than anything, training camp is about conditioning as the team begins to work in pads for the first time. The running game is the one part of the offense that can’t be truly duplicated without seeing live bullets or in football terms – live pad-on-pad action.
“I think we’ll find that out after a week of training camp; start stringing some days together and see how we all look,” Belichick said of conditioning. “I know we’ve had guys here for a couple days but that’s not quite the full camp so we’ll see how it goes, take it day by day.
“It’s good to see all the players that are out there, out there. The ones that aren’t out there yet that are working hard to get back, we’ll look forward to seeing them as soon as they’re able to participate. We have 90 players on our roster and the ones that are out there actively participating, I’m happy to see all of them.
“We’re certainly not anywhere near where we need to be or will be, but I’d say we’ve already crossed part of that bridge in the spring. We had 13 practices together and at this time of year, as we do in the spring, we work a lot of different people in different combinations and let the competition sort itself out. I think that we’ve had good, productive communication at all the positions. There’s always going to be turnover. There’s turnover every year on every team. This is nothing unique. We’ll just see how it plays out. I don’t think that necessarily has to be a problem but it could be. I don’t know.”
A TV reporter asked the Patriots head coach if he were concerned about the text messages exchanged between Aaron Hernandez and members of the Patriots organization, including Belichick himself.
“I think that was addressed by a lawyer last week and I don’t have any further comment on it,” Belichick said, referencing the statement put out last Friday night by Andrew Phelan, a partner at Bingham McCutcheon. Phelan clarified that there were not 33 pages of texts between the two sides but rather a total of 34 texts.
“Earlier this week, a report indicated that an exchange of text messages between the team’s head coach and Mr. Hernandez totaled 33 pages,” Phelan said in Friday’s statement. “While it is unknown how the texts were printed or displayed, I thought it was important to clarify that during an early investigation conducted by state prosecutors, the team produced a total of 34 text messages (not pages of texts) spanning a period of five months (December 2012 – April 2013) between the head coach and Mr. Hernandez.”
On Tuesday, Michael Fee, an attorney for Hernandez, said the dispute over text messages had been resolved.
Hernandez is in a Boston jail awaiting trial in two separate murder cases. Hernandez is accused of killing Odin Lloyd in June 2013. He was released by the Patriots before the calendar turned to July. Hernandez is also accused in the double homicide in Boston in Feb. 2012, just weeks after taking part in the Super Bowl loss to the Giants in Indianapolis.
Still, the reporter continued her line of questioning with Belichick Wednesday morning at the end of the 12-minute news conference.
Is it something you routinely do with your players, texting back and forth?
“I don’t have any further comment on it,” Belichick said.
Do you approach your new players differently now based on what [Hernandez] allegedly did weeks before camp [in 2013]?
“No further comment,” Belichick said before the news conference came to an end.
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