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Chris Long won’t return to Patriots in 2017, wants to ‘get back to being the player [he] was before’ 03.01.17 at 3:33 pm ET
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Chris Long announced on Instagram Wednesday he won’t be returning to New England in 2017.

He wrote: Thank you Pats Nation. As a player you’ve given so much support to, I owe you an explanation as to why I’ll be moving on in FA… even if it isn’t a big deal. This year and this opportunity gave me a ton. I made lifelong friends in a great locker room and became a champion. I’m so thankful that Coach B (the GOAT) took a chance on me and allowed me the opportunity to play a small part in this wonderful year. This has zero to do with money, etc. It’s the right move in my heart because I want to get back to being the player I was before. I’m thankful for my role this year, but as a competitor, I’m itching to do what I do best. It was important to say thank you personally. You may not remember me much, but I’ll always remember y’all!! #driveforfive #missionaccomplished

Long likely wants to have more of a role with his next team, as he was part of a rotation at defensive end.

Thank you Pats Nation. As a player you’ve given so much support to, I owe you an explanation as to why I’ll be moving on in FA… even if it isn’t a big deal. This year and this opportunity gave me a ton. I made lifelong friends in a great locker room and became a champion. I’m so thankful that Coach B (the GOAT) took a chance on me and allowed me the opportunity to play a small part in this wonderful year. This has zero to do with money, etc. It’s the right move in my heart because I want to get back to being the player I was before. I’m thankful for my role this year, but as a competitor, I’m itching to do what I do best. It was important to say thank you personally. You may not remember me much, but I’ll always remember y’all!! #driveforfive #missionaccomplished

A post shared by Chris Long ⚡️ (@laflamablanca95) on

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Chris Long on Super Bowl LI, the 2016 Pats being ‘toughest team of all time,’ and what his future holds 02.11.17 at 8:33 am ET
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Chris Long said the 2016 Patriots were the "toughest team of all time." (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Chris Long believes the 2016 Patriots were the “toughest team of all time.” (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Chris Long believes the 2016-17 Patriots were the “toughest team of all time.”

The veteran defensive end, a guest on the “Pardon My Take” podcast, said this year’s New England team proved its bonafides in that department with the 25-point comeback in Super Bowl LI.

“I really do think I just played on the toughest team of all time,” he said.

“The guys in that locker room, like, literally did not flinch,” Long said of the sizable deficit the Patriots faced at halftime. “I knew I was like, I’m a human being, I was like, ‘Golly, like I got some doubts right now. We’ve got to play way better in the second half.’

“Duron Harmon, who’s a safety for us, walked in and goes, ‘We’re about to make the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.’ I was like, ‘Dude, can we get a stop? Can we just like do one good thing? Maybe put one foot in front of the other?’”

The 31-year-old Long, who had never made the playoffs prior to arriving in New England prior to the 2016 season, said he had to operate on some level of faith.

“But like if it wasn’t for guys like Duron who had no doubt … I’m not used to this winning thing. Maybe to guys that have been around there for a while, they’re like, ‘Well, [expletive] will just work out. You know?’ I didn’t have that instinct, for whatever reason.

“But yeah, it wasn’t like a big speech. We just went back out and did it.”

Long said there were a lot of things that went into the comeback, but in the end, it’s about coaching.

“Bill [Belichick] does a great job of throwing curveballs at us. He did all year. Everything he does is by design,” he said. “I do think he’s the greatest coach of all time.”

“Any curveball you get on Super Bowl Sunday, you might think the hill is too steep. But guys were just conditioned to be able to go out there, hit the curveball, keep rolling. We got a break or two, that’s all it took, and then you can feel once you get that break or two, the momentum it turns into like, ‘Oh [expletive]’ on the other sideline.

“And on our sideline, we’re trying to go win a football game. You know what I mean? It turned fast. But I do think it’s because we’re mentally very tough.”

Long also added that he’s not retiring.

“I’m not retiring,” Long said. “But I don’t know what I’m doing.”

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

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DL Alan Branch joins growing number of Patriots who say they won’t go to White House 02.09.17 at 8:35 pm ET
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Alan Branch isn't going to the White House. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Alan Branch isn’t going to the White House. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Alan Branch told SiriusXM Radio on Thursday that he won’t be visiting the White House as part of the Super Bowl celebration.

The veteran Patriots defensive lineman said he will be “spending time with family” instead.

Branch joins a growing collection of players who have publicly said they are not going, a group that includes Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett, Chris Long and Dont’a Hightower.

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

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Sounds like Chris Long won’t be going to the White House at 10:49 am ET
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Sounds like Chris Long is skipping the White House trip. (John David Mercer/USA Today Sports)

Sounds like Chris Long is skipping the White House trip. (John David Mercer/USA Today Sports)

It sounds like Chris Long won’t be visiting the White House.

In a Thursday Tweet responding to a columnist who wrote an “open letter” saying he shouldn’t go, the Patriots defensive end said he “planned on skipping” the trip to the White House, and added that it was “my call.”

“[I] don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me,” he added.

Long has always been very open when it comes to his stance on social issues. The veteran spoke eloquently this past season about his feelings regarding Colin Kaepernick’s protests. He’s also been active through the Waterboys Initiative in helping bring clean water to East African communities in need.

Dont’a Hightower, Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty have all indicated that they will not visit the White House.

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

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Chris Long says he signed with Patriots to win Super Bowl, not to get paid 02.06.17 at 4:14 pm ET
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Chris Long had a great first season in New England. (John David Mercer/USA Today Sports)

Chris Long had a great first season in New England. (John David Mercer/USA Today Sports)

HOUSTON — Chris Long had been in the NFL for eight seasons, but the Rams didn’t make the playoffs in any of those seasons.

With Long being 31 years old and accomplished a great deal as an individual, he was still lacking playoff experience, which was one of the reasons why he signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal last March.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I didn’t sign to get paid, I didn’t really sign to resurrect my career, I just wanted to win. When I was coming off the last year, I just hoped I could sneak on to a team, I didn’t know where my body was going to be. Well, I turned out to feel pretty good and I feel like I played a role. So I’m very happy to be here.”

It was special for Long because he had his Hall of Fame dad Howie, as well as much of his extended family in attendance.

“We talked, he had me up on the set,” he said. “I talked to my whole family, it wasn’t just about my pops. It was about my wife, my son, Waylon, my brothers were here, my in-laws, I’ve got friends here, my mother is here. They’ve all been with me and stuck by me through a lot of lows and I love them all for it.”

As for the game, Long knew once the game went to overtime the Patriots would come out on top.

“We just said to each other on defense, ‘We’re not going to back out there.’” Long said. “Tom [Brady], he’s an assassin, man and he tears people’s hearts out. He just did it tonight.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Chris Long is ‘captain of [his] destiny,’ so he’s going with playoff mustache, not beard 01.04.17 at 9:24 am ET
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Chris Long isn't going with the standard playoff beard. (WEEI.com)

Chris Long isn’t going with the standard playoff beard. (WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The ritual in sports is to go with a playoff beard, but Chris Long is not going to be one of those people as the defensive end plays in the postseason for the first time.

Speaking Wednesday morning inside the Patriots locker room, Long was sporting a mustache, not a beard.

“I get it, there is a playoff beard thing, but I decided I wanted to have a mustache this week,” Long said. “It might be there next week, it might not. I am the captain of my destiny. I get to decide what kind of facial hair [I have], like people on the Internet were like, ‘Dude, where’s your –?’ I was like, ‘Really? Is that like a prerequisite? Sorry.’

“I do playoff mustache. It’s not a big deal.”

With a first-round bye, New England doesn’t know who its opponent will be Jan. 14 at Gillette Stadium when it hosts its divisional round game. Since there is no opponent to prepare for, the Patriots will be focusing on themselves.

“I am excited for this week to get better,” Long said. “I am excited for us to grow together even more as a team. We have an opportunity here to improve. We have an opportunity to work on the things we need to work on and that’s something we’ve earned and we need to be thankful for it and take care of business this week.”

This is Long’s ninth season in the league and will be his first taste of the postseason, something he’s grateful to have.

“Look, listen we’ve been working to having these opportunities,” he said. “I am very thankful to be playing football right now.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Tom Brady didn’t get to watch end of Ohio State-Michigan, but he took the loss hard 11.29.16 at 11:22 am ET
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Tom Brady went back to Michigan earlier this year. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady went back to Michigan earlier this year. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady isn’t afraid to show his love for his college team, the Michigan Wolverines, even going back to Ann Arbor to be a honorary captain one weekend while he was serving his four-game suspension this season.

They had their biggest game of the year this past weekend against Ohio State, but fell 30-27 in double overtime, which was one of the best college football games of the year.

Brady and the Patriots were traveling to New Jersey for their game against the Jets and thanks to Chris Long on the Rich Eisen Show Monday, it was revealed Brady and the team didn’t get to actually watch the final seconds of the game as the Internet went out on the plane as the team was taking off.

“It went zero dark thirty and I just really felt for those guys,” Long said. “They were very invested in that game. They were emotionally all over it. All of a sudden people were staring at their phones, like their jaws dropped. I think it was that third down where the kid was running around, right before he got it on fourth down. I think that was when the TVs went dark. Tom kept his cool, but at the end of the day the home team got the win.”

Added Long: “Guys were freaking out, scrambling to get the Gamecast. It was chaos and I was watching a movie on my laptop without the sound and I could just watch people’s reactions.”

Once the result was known, it was clear Brady wasn’t too thrilled with the result.

“Not well, actually,” Long said. “Tom didn’t seem happy so it was obvious to me Tom was having a rough Saturday.”

Brady talked about the game Monday morning on Kirk & Callahan, agreeing with Jim Harbaugh that Michigan was at the end of some poor calls late in the game.

“I thought they did, too,” Brady said. “If that game is in Ann Arbor, I think it is a different outcome. At least it is a rivalry again. For so many years I bet all the guys from Ohio State and I’ve had to pay them for so many years — all these bets. At least this game was competitive and went down to the end. It was a good game. I wish we could have pulled it out. They made some good plays at the end, the Buckeyes did. Coach Harbaugh has got the team going and it’s going to be a great rivalry for a lot of years.”

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