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Lonie Paxton explains the roots of the ‘Snow Angel’ and why he doesn’t remember much about it 10.31.14 at 3:59 pm ET
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Lonie Paxton models a "GoPro" video recording device. He works for the video recording company. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Lonie Paxton models a “GoPro” video recording device. He works for the video recording company. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — It’s one of the greatest celebrations in one of the greatest sports moments in New England history. Now the story can be told by its creator.

After Adam Vinatieri booted a 23-yard field goal in overtime against the Raiders in the final snap ever at Foxboro Stadium, the man who snapped the ball – Lonie Paxton – made a beeline to the end zone, flopped on his back and did a snow angel in the powdery white stuff on the turf.

Paxton, who was in the media workroom Friday to promote the Patriots’ celebration of three Super Bowl titles Sunday at Gillette Stadium, explained exactly why he went into the celebration and repeated it after his snap that led to the game-winning kick of Super Bowl XXXVI.

“It kind of started in the Raider game where it snowed and I had people from out of town that were all California kids,” Paxton said. “They literally brought flip-flops in six inches of snow. It’€™s like, ‘€˜Well, screw it, we’€™re just going to do snow angels after in the parking lots when you guys win.’€™ So that came up in my brain for some reason. I’€™m like, ‘€˜Hey, are we going to do this after the game?’€™

“[Defensive lineman] Dave Nugent, I remember, he was going to meet me out there and he never made it. He went to the pile in the middle of the field, and I was the only one, and (it’s) history. It was somewhat planned. The confetti was more of like, ‘€˜Hey, the media has only been talking to me from then until now about a snow angel. Never my snaps, never the production. All the snow angel, so I’€™ll just give them something for that for the showmanship.’€™”

Paxton actually admitted Friday that while all of New England remembers his endearing celebrations, including the one in confetti in New Orleans, his recollection isn’t nearly as vivid.

“I actually don’€™t remember a thing,” Paxton said. “In the moment, you’€™re just like, ‘€˜OK, this could go one of two ways. It could go very bad or it could go very good, so try to just stay in the middle and don’€™t lean to one side or the other. Forget about what is happening and just do what you do, be repetitious as a snapper.’€™ I remember immediately following, the tackles and the cheering and the crying and the after party and the days following and the Pro Bowl. That was cool.”

Paxton is among 22 players who were on three Super Bowl winners with the Patriots and will be honored Sunday in a halftime ceremony. Paxton played on four Super Bowls with the Patriots before leaving for Denver in 2009, signing a five-year, $5.3 million contract, at the time the second-richest contract ever bestowed upon a long snapper in NFL history.

Paxton spends his days now working for “GoPro,” a video recording company and going around the country promoting the many uses of the devices, including some by sports teams. He is married to a former Patriots cheerleader and they have 2-1/2-year-old twins.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: GoPro, Lonie Paxton, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders
Patriots re-sign LB Deontae Skinner to practice squad, release WR Jonathan Krause at 1:31 pm ET
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Deontae Skinner

Deontae Skinner


FOXBORO — Linebacker Deontae Skinner is back on the Patriots.

The team announced Friday the re-signing of the rookie linebacker to the practice squad. Skinner was released from the 53-man roster on Oct. 29. To make room, the team released WR Jonathan Krause from the practice squad.

Skinner, 24, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Mississippi State on May 12, 2014. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder, was released by the Patriots on Aug. 26 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1. He was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Sept. 13 and played in seven games with one start, accumulating 10 total tackles and three special teams tackles.

Krause, 22, joined the New England practice squad on Oct. 24. He was originally signed by Cleveland as a rookie free agent out of Vanderbilt on May 12, 2014. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder, was released by Cleveland on Aug. 25, 2014. Krause finished his college career with 98 receptions for 1,197 yards and five touchdowns.

Read More: Deontae Skinner, Jonathan Krause, New England Patriots,
Alan Branch returns to practice while Chandler Jones absent again at 12:44 pm ET
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Alan Branch could provide depth for a New England defensive line that has been thinned by injury. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Alan Branch could provide depth for a New England defensive line that has been thinned by injury. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Alan Branch was back on the practice field Friday as the Patriots began to wind down preparations for the Denver Broncos this Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The newly-acquired nose tackle was not at practice on Thursday for a non-injury issue. Branch has practiced twice this week with the team, Wednesday and again on Friday.

As to whether the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Branch might make his debut on Sunday against the Broncos, coach Bill Belichick was non-committal Friday.

“We started working with Alan this week, so we’€™ll see how it goes,” Belichick said. “He’€™s obviously got a lot of size and some experience. We’€™ll see how it goes.”

The 29-year-old Branch is in his eighth NFL season. There is precedent for Branch playing immediately with only a week of practice under his belt. Linebacker Akeem Ayers made his Patriots debut on Sunday and had a sack in the 51-23 win over the Bears. Ayers had played in just two games before playing Sunday while Branch hasn’t played a down in the league this season.

Branch, a defensive lineman, officially signed on Wednesday morning — this after being spotted in the Patriots locker room last week. According to Pro Football Talk, Branch had his pending DUI case resolved, avoiding potential suspension by the NFL under the new substance abuse policy. Branch did not appear at all on Wednesday’s official injury report released by the team.

One player almost certain not to play Sunday is pass rusher Chandler Jones, out indefinitely with a hip injury. Jones has not practiced since injuring his hip against the Jets on Oct. 16 and was again missing Friday. Also missing Friday was practice squad wide receiver Jonathan Krause, likely signaling the addition of another player to the practice squad. Linebacker Deontae Skinner was released earlier in the week as the team made space for linebacker Jonathan Casillas.

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

Read More: Alan Branch, chandler jones, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick rips meteorologists everywhere: ‘They’re almost always wrong’ at 10:01 am ET
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Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Weather forecasts are something Bill Belichick often reads but almost never trusts. That was painfully evident Friday morning when asked about his preparations for potential inclement weather late Sunday afternoon for the game against the Broncos.

“When you play in New England, you’ve got to be ready for everything,” Belichick began. “I’d say based on the forecasts we’ve gotten so far this year, none of them were even very close to what the game conditions were.”

But Belichick was only getting started. He recalled the Thursday night game against the Jets, when the forecast called for monsoon-like rain throughout the contest.

“There was a 100 percent chance of rain last week and the only water I saw was on the Gatorade table,” he quipped. “It is what it is. It could start one way and change during the game so we’ve got to be ready for whatever it is. My experience of going with the forecasts in this area two days before the game, I’d bet a lot they’re wrong, just based on history, because they’re almost always wrong. An hour before the game, maybe you might have something to work with there. If you start game-planning for what the weather is going to be, and you’re wrong, you’ve wasted a lot of time.”

But he wasn’t just ripping New England weather casters.

“When you walk out on the field,” Belichick said. “That’s really when you know what it is. The rest of it is just a bunch of hot air. We played down in Miami two years ago and there was a zero percent chance of rain, zero, and it rained. I’m just telling you. If I did my job way they did theirs, I’d be here about a week.”

Ouch.

“I’m not saying I could do it better than them,” Belichick said. “I’m just saying they’re wrong a lot. That’s a fact. They’re wrong a lot. We all make mistakes. I’m not being critical of them. I’m just saying I don’t think you can go based on [forecast].”

As for the Foxboro forecast for Sunday from Weather.com, there’s a 50 percent chance of rain, with strong winds out of the north, northwest gusting at 22 MPH. Temperatures will start in the mid-40s and drop into the upper 20s, with rain possibly turning to wet snow by the end of the game.

Belichick won’t believe it till he sees it.

“When you walk out on the field, that’s really when you know what it is,” Belichick said. “An hour before the game and see what you have. Go out there in pre-game warmups, an hour and a half before the game in pre-game warmups, then a half-hour before the game and see if there’s been any change. I don’t think we’re going to see anything we haven’t practiced in. We’ve dealt with it in practice, we’ve dealt with it in other games though the course of time. Whatever it is, it is. We’ve played in hot weather, cold weather, calm, wind, rain, snow.”

“It’s something you do more game day,” Belichick said. “What it could be and what it is are usually two different things.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Meteorologists, New England Patriots, weather forecasting
Alan Branch, Chandler Jones not spotted at Patriots practice 10.30.14 at 12:17 pm ET
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Alan Branch could provide depth for a New England defensive line that has been thinned by injury. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Alan Branch could provide depth for a New England defensive line that has been thinned by injury. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

One day after making his Patriots’ debut on the practice field, defensive tackle Alan Branch was not spotted at the start of Patriots practice, according to multiple reports.

Branch, a defensive lineman, officially signed on Wednesday morning — this after being spotted in the Patriots locker room last week. According to Pro Football Talk, Branch had his pending DUI case resolved, avoiding potential suspension by the NFL under the new substance abuse policy. Branch did not appear at all on Wednesday’s official injury report released by the team.

Also missing was Chandler Jones, out indefinitely with a hip injury. Jones has not practiced since injuring his hip against the Jets on Oct. 16.

Fellow newcomer Jonathan Casillas, a linebacker, was again at practice as he tries to assimilate the Patriots defensive system in time to be useful against the Broncos this Sunday. He was traded to the Patriots from the Buccaneers Tuesday at the trade deadline.

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

Read More: Alan Branch, chandler jones, Denver Broncos, Jonathan Casillas
Tom Brady earns AFC offensive player of month award at 11:35 am ET
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Tom Brady had his best game of the season in Sunday's win over the Bears. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady had his best game of the season in Sunday’s win over the Bears. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO -€“ From the ruins of September came the resurgence of October for Tom Brady.

The Patriots quarterback Thursday was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. After going 2-2 in September and looking like a beaten down quarterback in a 41-14 loss in Kansas City, Brady has responded with one of the best four-game stretches of his career.

Brady led the Pariots to a 4-0 record in the month of October and completed 100 of 144 passes for 1,268 yards with 14 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 129.1. Brady’€™s 14 touchdowns are tied for first with Peyton Manning during October and Brady is the only starting quarterback that has not thrown an interception during the month.

The Patriots entered the month of October with the 29th ranked offense in the NFL and under Brady’€™s guidance, the team climbed to No. 10. Brady’€™s play in the month of October also helped the 24th-ranked scoring offense ascend to the third-ranked scoring offense entering November.

It is the seventh time overall that Brady has earned an AFC Player of the Month honor. It is Brady’€™s first since he was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December/January in 2011.

Brady had two 300-yard games in October and threw two or more touchdowns in all four wins, including four in the win at Buffalo on Oct. 12 when he finished 27-of-37 for 361 yards and five when he finished 30-of-35 for 354 yards in the 51-23 win over Chicago last Sunday.

Brady has 2,059 passing yards and 18 touchdowns so far in 2014 and is on pace to finished with 4,118 passing yards and 36 touchdowns.

Read More: AFC offensive player of month, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,
Mike Petraglia, Chris Price preview 16th edition of Tom Brady-Peyton Manning and what it all means 10.29.14 at 6:40 pm ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview the big showdown between the 6-1 Denver Broncos and the 6-2 New England Patriots and the 16th edition in the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry. Brady holds a 10-5 lead in the series and had won the last four meetings before losing to Manning in the AFC championship last January in Denver. The two met in an epic contest last year at Gillette Stadium, when the Broncos raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead, only to see Brady and the Patriots execute a miracle comeback and win, 34-31, in overtime on field goal in the last minute.

Read More: Chris Price, Denver Broncos, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
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