|Rob Ninkovich: ‘From Robert Kraft all the way down, we all support [Tom Brady]’||05.18.15 at 8:13 pm ET|
The general theme over the past week from within the Patriots organization has been support.
Despite the findings of the Wells Report and the penalties that have come down against them, the organization is standing by one another, led by owner Robert Kraft, who voiced his displeasure Monday to MMQB’s Peter King, calling the handling of Deflategate “very disturbing.”
Veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich was another to defend his team, especially quarterback Tom Brady. Ninkovich was speaking prior to his charity event, “Ninko’s Ping Pong Challenge” at Blazing Paddles next to Fenway Park Monday night.
“We all support Tom,” Ninkovich said. “Again, I’ve been with him seven years now. He’s an unbelievable person. He’s an unbelievable competitor. He’s a great person to be around and a great teammate. We all support Tom. From Robert Kraft all the way down, we all support him.”
“For me, we support each other, we’re teammates, we’re all teammates,” he added. “We support each other. It’s just like family. For me, I am going to support my teammates, and I don’t want to get into what was said because I really don’t know, so for me I am here to support my teammates and they are here to support me to raise money for charity and we all support Tom. He’s my teammate. I’ve been with him a long time. He’s a great person.”
“I figured ping pong is a sport we all play, and yes it is a sport, so I figured we’d put that on and try and raise some money,” Ninkovich said.
The money raised from the event, which attracted a number of local stars including, Gronkowski, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Chandler Jones, Stephen Gostkowski, Leon Powe and many more, will benefit the Celebrities For Charity Foundation.
Ninkovich is looking to move on from Deflategate and focus on the 2015 — a season in which he expects the team to have a target on their backs following winning Super Bowl XLIX.
“We have another year to worry about — 2015,” said Ninkovich. “The Patriots always have a target on them for being a very good franchise for a very long time and when you win a Super Bowl that gets bigger. We know the importance of the offseason and working hard. Building a team is now. I’ve done it for awhile.”
|Report: Patriots, NFL trying to ‘back-channel’ end to fight over Deflategate penalties||at 8:04 pm ET|
The Patriots and NFL would like nothing more than to end their fight over Deflategate before it ever gets to a hearing before Roger Goodell, or anyone else.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, sources indictate that the team and league are in “back-channel conversations” to see if the two sides can resolve their differences without an appeal or possible litigation following the league’s Deflategate punishment.
From the moment NFL executive Troy Vincent announced a four-game suspension for Tom Brady, in addition to a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft picks, the Patriots have unleashed a powerful defense, including a 20,000-word response to the Wells Report.
While Tom Brady has already hired attorney Jeffrey Kessler and filed his appeal through the NFLPA, the Patriots have until Friday to appeal the loss of a 2016 first-round pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick and their $1 million fine. The Patriots are considering every possible move.
The NFL believes the Wells Report proved the Patriots and Brady broke rules and obstructed the league’s investigation.
Now, as the owners meet in San Francisco, there is a chance Patriots owner Robert Kraft and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could sit down and talk. Both are expected to attend the spring owners’ meetings, which begin Tuesday.
Kraft, who still sounded very angry in speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King The MMQB, was asked whether he would violate NFL bylaws by going to court to try to get the league penalties overturned. He declined to comment, saying only, “I’m not going to comment on that at this point in time. I’m going to leave it. I won’t say.”
Patriots fans have certainly loved seeing Jack Del Rio on an opposing sideline over the years. Now, it appears that Del Rio is in New England’s corner when it comes to Deflategate.
The new Raiders head coach, speaking prior to his induction into the USC Athletics Hall of Fame over the weekend, said he considers the punishment handed down to the Patriots an “overreaction,” comparing it to the one given to USC in the investigation into former Trojans star Reggie Bush.
“I think there are some similarities in terms of an overreaction, from my standpoint,” Del Rio said Saturday. “I think it was a little bit overdone. But that’s somebody else’s problem right now.”
Del Rio told reporters that the league would have been better off simply warning quarterbacks that tampering with the football would not be tolerated.
“Everybody understands that quarterbacks all want to get the balls how they like them, and why not?” Del Rio said. “They throw these balls around, and one of the reasons the sport is so popular is the ability of guys like Peyton [Manning] and Brady to throw the ball the way they do.”
New England quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended four games, the team has been fined $1 million and the NFL has docked the Patriots two draft picks because of their role in a scandal involving underinflated footballs. Brady’s ban is currently under appeal.
|What Deflategate? Tom Brady spent weekend in Bahamas at a wedding, golfing with Michael Jordan||05.17.15 at 4:25 pm ET|
Looks like Tom Brady isn’t sweating Deflategate, at least not too much. The Patriots quarterback was spotted this weekend in the Bahamas — reportedly for a wedding — and he spent time with his new golfing buddy Michael Jordan.
‘ Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) May 17, 2015
Check out the story and more pictures here.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
This may not come as a surprise to many, but with everything that has taken place this offseason, it’s newsworthy to an extent.
According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, Tom Brady hasn’t missed a single voluntary workout as part of the team’s offseason program since they began April 20. By many accounts, Brady has historically been the first one at the facility every day during the season, showing his dedication and strong work ethic, so this really isn’t much of a surprise.
“You have to bring the energy to practice and if you don’t have it, you better figure out a way to get it,” Brady said earlier this month speaking at Salem State University about being a leader. “You better find a way to energize your teammates to get the best out of them. So much of being a great leader is getting the best out of your teammates. And making sure you show up every day at your best, so that you can get the best out of them.
“I’ve always believed when I show up I am going to lead by example – show up every day and work hard. Always getting in the right direction. I think that’s how I lead. It’s one of the great rewards of being a quarterback, that’s why I chose that position because you can have such a positive impact on the people around you, so that’s a trait I try and tell a lot of young quarterbacks – if you don’t believe it, why will they believe it?”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Report: NFL will change rules when it comes to pre-game handling of footballs||05.16.15 at 1:19 am ET|
It sounds like “Deflategate” has spurred the league to action when it comes to the pre-game handling of footballs.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the NFL will change the guidelines surrounding the way footballs are handled before games. The issues will apparently be discussed at the owners’ meetings next week in San Francisco, but according to the AP, the change would not require a vote from the owners.
The current rules allow quarterbacks to receive footballs directly from the leagues, and teams are allowed to pre-treat them a number of different ways leading up to the contest, as long as they are able to pass a pregame inspection by the officials 2 hours, 15 minutes before kickoff. Part of the pre-game inspection involves checking for air pressure, and the referee inspects each one, with a pump provided by the home team to adjust air pressure as needed. Footballs are required to have at least 12.5 psi and no more than 13.5 psi.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games and the Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks for their role in the under inflated football scandal at last year’s AFC title game. The case is currently under appeal.
For more Patriots news. check out weei.com/patriots.
|ESPN’s John Clayton on MFB: ‘It will be hard’ to get Tom Brady suspension reduced||05.15.15 at 2:16 pm ET|
ESPN’s John Clayton joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the fallout from Deflategate and the Patriots’ reaction to the punishment handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Following the release of the Wells Report, the Patriots were given a penalty that they see as excessive: a $1 million fine, two draft picks including a first-round pick in 2016, and a four-game suspension for Tom Brady. On Thursday, the team released a document highlighting the inaccuracies in the report.
“I don’t think [the Patriots’ response is] going to change anything,” Clayton said. “One thing I think is good for the league by doing it as strongly as they did and putting out just about every argument, I think it pretty well says they’re not suing the National Football League.”
Added Clayton: “Instead of going into the court of law, they went into the court of public opinion and trying to win it there. And I think you can see from the reaction of the Patriots fans, it certainly was good for the Patriots fans, and, you know, everybody else around the country, they’re trying to make their judgments.”
Brady and the Patriots have made it clear that they will be appealing the punishment, and the NFL has announced that Goodell will be hearing the appeal himself.
“I’m not surprised that Roger’s going to legislate this, but you have to get the feeling that he’s not going to be sympathetic toward the Patriots because, you know, he has stressed so hard that he wants integrity in the game, and in his eyes at least, this does violate integrity,” Clayton said, adding: “I think it’s going to be hard to get this below four games unless there is a settlement. I mean, if Roger does try to at least say, ‘OK, we’ll take the four down to two,’ you take it and then deal with that. But I think right now, odds are at least somewhat favoring it’s going to probably stay at four games.”
One of the major criticisms of Goodell in recent days is that other players and organizations who were disciplined by the league in the past year were given relatively light penalties compared to those given to the Pats.
“There is no consistency at the moment with any penalty coming out of [Goodell’s] office, and so because of that, there is extra scrutiny,” Clayton said.
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.