FOXBORO -- The Patriots might be playing in 80-degree temperatures this weekend in Miami. But there will be no warmup beforehand.
"We'll be outside on the grass," head coach Bill Belichick said before practice. "I think that's the best setup for us right now."
So New England held its Wednesday workout on the lower field in 37-degree weather. Six players on the active roster were missing from the shorts and shells session: DE Chandler Jones (ankle), LG Logan Mankins (calfankle), OT Sebastian Vollmer (backknee), TE Rob Gronkowski (forearmhip), and OT Markus Zusevics.
There was also a No. 17 on the field, likely receiver Jeremy Ebert, who was signed back to the Patriots practice squad today. The team made room for Ebert with the promotion of running back James Develin to the 53-man roster.
Note that Julian Edelman was warming up with the team during the media availability portion. There was question as to the receiver's status as he left Thursday night's Jets game with a third quarter head injury and did not return.
Remember how irate some of the Patriots veterans were after the first game of the season with where the team’s collective head was at? We heard it from Tom Brady. We heard it from Nate Solder. We heard it from Duron Harmon.
No one gave an example of the lack of preparation and intensity players supposedly engaged in. But the start-to-the-season mindset still rankles Solder to the point where he brought it up again this week.
When asked during Quick Slants about a Super Bowl rematch with the Falcons this Sunday, Solder visibly bristled and referred back to the start of the season.
“The first few games of the season, there was a lot of baggage drawn in from last season which really wasn’t helping anybody,” Solder said. “People are gonna bring all that stuff back up this week and it’s really just a distraction. They have different players, they have things going on that weren’t going on before, it’s a different part of the season. We really just have to work really hard to be prepared for a different team.”
We’ve beaten and re-beaten the dead horse pertaining to offseason expectations that turned into a millstone for this team.
Bu the unanswered question is why – for a team that’s had so many successful seasons and negotiated Super Bowl success prior to this year – did this year’s team fail to ignore the noise, as Solder indicates it did?
Was it the avalanche of positive pub? Other Patriots have been anointed but this year’s optimism outpaced any other defending champ’s propaganda because there wasn’t the same class of competition league-wide (it appeared) and the Patriots seemingly made moves to improve its roster. Did that get in their heads?
Was it the outflow of leadership caused by free agency, retirement and injuries? The loss of big personalities like Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett and Julian Edelman and pro’s pros like Logan Ryan and Rob Ninkovich may have been underrated.
What is clear is that, while it still irks Solder, Bill Belichick has moved on verbally flogging the team for its entitled approach and has taken a different approach. He’s now directing his ire at the people that put that juju on the team.
The process continues Sunday night as the Patriots (and Falcons, for that matter) attempt to bury the ghosts of 2016 by confronting each other.
BOSTON – As expected, the NBA has fined Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for using “inappropriate language” toward a fan at the Friday night game in Philadelphia.
The incident occurred at halftime as Irving and his teammates were heading to the locker room, trailing by four. Boston went on to win 102-92 for their first victory of the season.
A fan yelled, “Hey, where’s LeBron?” to which Irving replied with a lewd suggestion to the yeller.
The Celtics practiced on Saturday with Irving addressing the incident.
When asked if he had any regrets about the incident, Irving replied, “Hell no. Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s social media platform we live on.
Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”
When asked about the incident on Saturday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had not seen the video but was aware of it.
“People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on,” Stevens said. “There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”
It was the second such fine levied by the league in as many days.
New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 for "inappropriate language" toward a fan when the Pelicans lost 103-91 at Memphis on Wednesday.