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Why Patriots players love hands-on ‘Mean Mug’ Robert Kraft, consider him best owner in sports 01.21.16 at 4:14 pm ET
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Robert Kraft has established himself as the most powerful owner in New England sports history. (Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports)

Robert Kraft has established himself as the most powerful owner in New England sports history. (Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports)

FOXBORO — Robert Kraft is one of the most successful owners in pro sports. He has established himself as the most powerful owner in New England sports history.

Forbes estimates his Patriots to be worth $3.2 billion, second only to the Cowboys in the NFL. Soccer’s Real Madrid ($3.26 billion) is just ahead of the Patriots in net value and the Patriots are tied with the Yankees on the list of valuable worldwide sports franchises.

Kraft has brought four Vince Lombardi trophies home to Foxboro and has been to three other Super Bowls.

But money and hardware aside, his players would tell you Robert Kraft is also the most loyal owner in sports.

“Every morning we see him in the squad meetings just sitting right there in the back just paying attention and that’€™s good to see as a player,” safety Patrick Chung said Thursday. “Most owners aren’€™t really doing that. He’€™s in there just paying attention. He’€™s always walking through the locker room, [I’€™ve] seen him working out and stuff.

“It’€™s good to know that he’€™s working just as hard as we are. We’€™re on the field, he’€™s off the field and it’€™s good to know, good to know that your owner has your back and he’€™s going to be there to make sure that he knows what’€™s going on, also. We like Mr. Kraft. We call him Mean Mug. Mean Mug, that’€™s our little thing that we’€™ve got so it’€™s good. It’€™s very good to see.”

Most successful owners in sports are the ones who are respected by the leaders on the field. That certainly is the case with the Patriots and Tom Brady.

“It’€™s obviously a huge impact on our team and our organization,” Brady said. “His expectations for us and how he sets the tone for us, he sits in almost every squad meeting that we have [and] I think he’€™s always got a pulse for how the team is doing, how the coaches feel about the particular week, how the players are feeling. He’€™s always involved, so I would say he’€™s very hands on. He used to come out to practice a lot more, but not as much lately. So, yeah, he really sets the tone for us.”

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Read More: 2016 NFL playoffs, Mean Mug, New England Patriots, Patrick Chung
Danny Amendola, Rob Ninkovich, Devin McCourty officially active vs. Dolphins 01.03.16 at 11:31 am ET
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The following Patriots players are inactive against the Dolphins: wide receiver Julian Edelman, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, linebacker Jonathan Freeny, cornerback Justin Coleman, defensive end Chandler Jones, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer.

All these players were already ruled out on Friday, except Siliga who was ruled out earlier in the day. He returned home to attend to a family emergency.

This means a few key Patriot players are active in Danny Amenedola, Devin McCourty, Rob Ninkovich and Patrick Chung.

It will be worth monitoring how much these players play, as the team wants to make sure they are as healthy as possible for the postseason.

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

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Read More: Danny Amendola, Patrick Chung, Rob Ninkovich,
Julian Edelman doubtful; Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty among 8 Patriots questionable vs. Jets 12.25.15 at 4:10 pm ET
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The Patriots will have some decisions to make between now and Sunday, as the team has listed eight players as questionable heading into the meeting with the Jets.

With a win the Patriots would wrap up the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed, but at the same time they want to make sure they are as healthy as possible for the postseason.

Some of the notable questionable players are Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower, while Julian Edelman is doubtful.

The team will announce the players who didn’t travel Saturday night.

Here’€™€™s the full Patriots injury report:

OUT
LB Jonathan Freeny (hand)

DOUBTFUL
WR Julian Edelman (foot)

QUESTIONABLE
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (knee)
S Patrick Chung (foot)
S Devin McCourty (ankle)
WR Brandon LaFell (foot)
S Nate Ebner (ankle)
WR Danny Amenedola (knee)
TE Scott Chandler (knee)
OL Josh Kline (shoulder)

PROBABLE
DE Chandler Jones (abdomen)
CB Justin Coleman (hand)

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Read More: Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower, Julian Edelman
Steven Jackson makes Patriots debut at Tuesday indoor walkthrough, Patrick Chung, Danny Amendola present 12.22.15 at 1:35 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The wait for Steven Jackson is finally over.

Just minutes after the team made official his signing with the team, the 32-year-old veteran running back made his entrance through the main door of the Empower Field House at around 1 p.m. Tuesday, wearing a white practice No. 39 jersey. (No. 39 had belonged to Montee Ball of the practice squad) The move appeared to be for the cameras on hand to watch the stretching part of the walkthrough as he went through some jogging and agility exercises before taking off the jersey and joining the rest of the team in sweats and shirts with no numbers.

The first player he greeted was starting left tackle Sebastian Vollmer.

There was other news as linebacker Dont’a Hightower, Danny Amendola and safety Patrick Chung were spotted on the turf in the field house. All three were dinged up in the win over the Titans. Also returning to practice was starting center Bryan Stork, who missed Friday’s practice and Sunday’s game due to personal reasons and a coach’s decision, respectively.

The only players not spotted were receiver Julian Edelman, defensive back Justin Coleman and linebacker Jonathan Freeny.

The Patriots are expected to return to a full practice on Wednesday and Thursday before taking Christmas Day off on Friday. The Patriots play the Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

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Read More: Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Patrick Chung
How Bill Belichick walks fine line between playing, resting players in final 2 weeks 12.21.15 at 1:47 pm ET
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Patrick Chung is helped to his feet after getting hit in the right leg by his own teammate Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Patrick Chung is helped to his feet after getting hit in the right leg by his own teammate Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — When to rest and when to play. It’s the biggest first-world problem of a perennial Super Bowl contender that is constantly achieving a first-round bye.

It’s a question that the Patriots have had to answer for each of the last six seasons and this year, it’s becoming even more crucial to find an answer as the banged up Patriots try to get healthy for another push through January and into February.

Every year, the question arises with how to handle Tom Brady. How much should he play in the season finale? But this year, the question of rest goes well beyond Brady and even Rob Gronkowski, who sat out the 2014 finale against the Bills.

Dont’a Hightower (another player who sat out the ’14 finale), Danny Amendola and Patrick Chung were all nicked up in Sunday’s 33-16 win over the Titans. Julian Edelman reportedly feels great and rehab from a broken left foot is going better than expected. He’s shooting for a Week 17 tuneup in Miami.

Play to win or rest to preserve your roster?

“That’s a good question,” Belichick said Monday in a conference call. “I think we just probably do the best we can to manage all of those things. They’re all somewhat of a consideration but we’ve just got to try and balance it. Each part the question requires some thought and every decision impacts other things as well. You can’t act independently. When one thing happens, there’s a residual effect to it one way or another as part of the conversation.

“We’ll just have to do the best that we can to balance all those things out. That’s something we’ll have to give some thought to and get as much information as possible because there are some guys that are in various stages of physical health. We’ll have to work our way through all of that. It’s definitely a challenging situation. I wish I had a cleaner answer on it. Really, you’re just going to have to work it out.”

As for Hightower, who was making his first start back Sunday since injuring his left knee in Denver on Nov. 29, Belichick acknowledged there’s a very fine line drawn between bringing a player back and giving him more time away from the risk of further injury. It’s an issue that will no doubt arise when Edelman makes his push to play.

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Read More: New England Patriots, New York Jets, Patrick Chung, Rob Gronkowski
Injuries to Danny Amendola, Dont’a Hightower mar another Patriots win 12.20.15 at 5:58 pm ET
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Danny Amendola was one of the Patriots players who got injured in Sunday's win. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Danny Amendola was one of the Patriots players who got injured in Sunday’s win. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots came away with a 33-16 win Sunday against the Titans, but once again injuries were the big story.

Wide receiver Danny Amenedola went down with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. It was on a punt return and a non-contact injury. It was also to the same knee that caused him to miss the Denver game.

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower also went down with a knee injury in the third quarter. It was his first game back after missing two games with a knee injury suffered in Denver against the Broncos. He got hurt in the third quarter and didn’t return, but did spent the fourth quarter on the sidelines — a positive sign.

Finally, safety Patrick Chung injured his hip midway through the fourth quarter and didn’t return. He was seen in the locker room afterwards and walking fine. Hightower was also spotted with his knee heavily wrapped and Amendola was not seen at all.

In six out of the last seven games, the team seen a significant player go down with an injury.

“We giggle about it, but it’s obviously tough,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “We always think, ‘Oh the injuries, how are they going to affect the Patriots? How is it going to affect them moving forward?’ Well I’m more concerned with the guy, the individual. That plays with your head and when you get hurt it’s tough because you put so much work into it. We’re more concerned about the individuals and their well-being. Trying to take it one day at a time.”

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Read More: Danny Amendola, Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung,
Rob Gronkowski, Patrick Chung return limited to Patriots practice 12.10.15 at 4:04 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski returned to the football field Thursday for the first time since his knee injury in Denver. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski returned to the football field Thursday for the first time since his knee injury in Denver. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The return of Rob Gronkowski to Patriots practice Thursday was predictably limited, as listed officially by the team Thursday afternoon.

Chris Price has a complete look at what the return of Gronkowski to the practice field means, as it relates to whether he might play Sunday night in Houston.

Gronkowski suffered a bruised right knee and a sprain in the same knee when he was hit by Broncos safety Darian Stewart on Nov. 29. Gronkowski missed last Sunday’s loss to the Eagles at Gillette Stadium.

Also returning to practice Thursday was safety Patrick Chung, who missed Wednesday with a foot injury.

Julian Edelman was the only player to miss Thursday. He’s been out since Nov. 21 with a broken bone in his foot. In total there were nine players limited. Those players were: Danny Amendola, Scott Chandler, Justin Coleman, Dont’a Hightower, Josh Kline, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater.

The team also had three injured players that participated in full: Marcus Cannon, Chandler Jones and Michael Williams.

Kline was again listed as limited, as he left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. In addition to Kline, Slater was a new addition with a stinger and McCourty with a shoulder injury.

For the Texans, J.J. Watt confirmed via a press conference Thursday that he broke his left hand during practice on Wednesday. He did not practice Thursday but both he and coach Bill O’Brien said they expect him to play Sunday night.

Here is Thursday’s complete injury report:

Did not practice

WR Julian Edelman (foot)

Limited participation

TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)
S Patrick Chung (foot)
WR Danny Amendola (knee)
TE Scott Chandler (knee)
CB Justin Coleman (hand)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
OL Josh Kline (shoulder)
S Devin McCourty (shoulder)
WR Matthew Slater (stinger)

Full participation

DE Chandler Jones (abdomen)
OL Marcus Cannon (toe)
TE Michael Williams (knee)

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Read More: Gronk, houston texans, New England Patriots, Patrick Chung
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