Patriots

Horton still not close to return

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Horton still not close to return

KANATA, ON Those banking on a Nathan Horton return to the Bruins during the playoffs may be waiting for a while.

While there was a hubbub of excitement over the news that he skated for more than 30 minutes on his own Wednesday prior to Bruins practice, the truth is that Horton is no closer to a return than he was last week. Claude Julien was asked after practice how Horton responded to Wednesdays twirl on the ice, and he immediately slammed on the brakes.

"Don't read into the fact that he skated, cautioned Julien. He's not even close to situation where you guys might think he is for a return."

The Bs power forward has missed 34 games and six weeks of action since suffering a concussion at the hands of a blindside Tom Sestito hit on Jan. 22 and a source close to Horton indicated toCSNNE.comthat the right winger wasnt likely to return during this postseason.

Heres a couple of reasons why: Horton is still weeks away from potentially practicing withhis teammates and even if he didnt have a single setback wouldnt be ready to go until the final few rounds of the playoffs. It would be unrealistic to think that a tentative, healthy Horton would be a better option than battle-hardened Bruins wingers that made it through the first few postseason rounds.

To put it in further perspective: the year Patrice Bergeron suffered his serious concussion and harbored hopes of returning for the playoffs, he had been skating hard since the beginning of March. He might have been ready for the second round.

Horton has taken one leisurely-paced skate to see how his nagging post-concussion symptoms would respond.

Theres also this startling fact: if Horton were to return in this springs playoffs for the Bruins and suffer another concussion as the nastiness increases with each postseason round, it would be the third major head injury for the 26-year-old in less than a full year.

Thats the kind of risk that can put a players entire future at risk and its the kind of mistake the Bruins made in rushing Marc Savard along for the postseason two years ago against the Flyers.

The Bruins would be making the same kind of error in rushing Horton back because hed had a few good weeks. So the notion that Horton is giving it a crack to come back for the playoffs isnt entirely accurate.

Horton is giving it a crack at returning to full health, and the hope is that the right winger will be back to smiling, scoring goals and giving Boston a power forward capable of potting 25 goals on the right side of Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

Trump calls on NFL to suspend Marshawn Lynch for season

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Trump calls on NFL to suspend Marshawn Lynch for season

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump says the NFL should suspend Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch sat during most of the U.S. anthem and stood for the Mexican anthem before Sunday's game against the Patriots at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Lynch hasn't stood for the national anthem since returning from retirement this season.

Trump tweeted early Monday: "Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down."

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last season when he refused to stand during the anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

Patriots hit heights in altitude of Mexico City against Raiders

Patriots hit heights in altitude of Mexico City against Raiders

In a conference call last week, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio wondered if Sunday's game in Mexico City with the Patriots might show how two contrasting approaches to handling the altitude could impact the outcome. 

Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady made sure of it. 

The Patriots utilized a hurry-up attack during their first drive -- a 16-play sequence -- that tested Oakland's conditioning early. Who would handle it better? The team that spent the week training at altitude in Colorado Springs? Or the team that wanted to beat the effects of the altitude by training at sea level and traveling to Mexico City the day before the game?

PATRIOTS 33, RAIDERS 8

Judging by how Raiders rookie defensive back Obi Melifonwu asked to come out of the game, and seeing linebacker Nicholas Morrow doubled over on the sidelines during the series, the Patriots initially looked like the more well-conditioned club. 

Stephon Gilmore and Danny Amendola had to leave the game briefly because they were dehydrated, but the final score, 33-8, suggested that the Patriots were better prepared.

Brady certainly had no issues playing at Estadio Azteca. He finished the game having gone 30-for-37 for 339 yards and three touchdowns. He had a quarterback rating of 131.9. 

At various points, Brady's name was chanted at the stadium, which he said caught him by surprise. He recently watched the television copy of last year's Texans-Raiders game just to get a sense for what the crowd would be like, and he remembered hearing Raiders fans dominating the crowd.

"That was very much a surprise," Brady said of the cheers. "Especially since seeing some of last year's game; they were very pro-Raider. But it seemed like we had a lot of Patriots fans here too, so that was great to see."

Rob Gronkowski said that the interaction with the fans in Mexico -- which included walking from the locker room through the stands to the sidelines -- was one of the things that made the trip a memorable one. 

"We really didn't get to do that much, explore around or anything, but we got to interact with the fans and everything coming out of the tunnel," he said. "That was a cool experience, seeing all the fans go wild and everything, giving them high-fives, so that was super neat.

"I wasn't sure what to expect, never played down here. It was a great experience, though. The way the fans were interacting was actually unbelievable. They were super loud. They sounded proud, and it was just a great experience overall coming here. Having that type of experience definitely makes it worthwhile and awesome."

Stephen Gostkowski, who turned in one of the plays of the day with a 62-yard field goal at the end of the first half, was similarly grateful to play in such a unique environment. 

"It was just an unbelievable atmosphere," Gostkowski said. "The stadium was great. The fans were unreal. Just a fun experience. To have a hand in a win, see the excitement from all the guys, it was really cool."

"That was pretty cool," Brady added. "I've been around a long time so if you're a fan of the NFL, you've probably seen me at some point, but it's still an incredible experience to come here and play football and see the reception and hopefully there's more games here, and the game continues to grow, and other people get to see it in person and experience it because it's a game that I love and so do a lot of other people around the world."

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