Patriots

Amendola on current anthem plan: 'I think we're all going to stand for that'

Amendola on current anthem plan: 'I think we're all going to stand for that'

FOXBORO -- More than a dozen Patriots made a statement by kneeling for the national anthem during Sunday's win over the Texans, but it seems as though all players will stand for the anthem when the Panthers are in town this weekend. That's the plan for now, at least.

"From my understanding," Danny Amendola said on Wednesday, "I think we’re all going to stand for that. But it’s not Sunday yet."

A group of 16 Patriots players, including captains Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, knelt for the anthem two days after president Donald Trump said that players who kneel for the anthem should be "fired." Trump also referred to any player that protests during the anthem as a "son of a bitch."

Asked how the Patriots will continue to handle the anthem moving forward, Brady pointed out that the last thing the Patriots want is to have a divided locker room.

"I don't think anybody wants that," Brady said. "We really are just focused on our jobs . . . That's what we're here for, and that's where the focus needs to be. I'm sure there will be conversations as we continue to move forward. We'll see how it goes."

Brady added that if players wanted to seek him out to discuss how to handle sensitive situations, he's willing and able to chat.

"I think the dialogue is always open, I think that's important for any team," Brady said. "Hard-and-fast rules maybe in this day and age it's a little tougher than it used to be. But I just think it's overall trust that everyone is here to do the same thing, and I think everyone has a great deal of respect for each other in the locker room.

"We show up, we try to work hard every day, and always put the team first. And also understand there's extenuating circumstances at times, and you have to respect people that you play with . . . I think we have a great locker room. I think we have some good leadership. I think we're still evolving. And, hopefully, it's early in the season, there's a lot of room to make improvement, certainly on the field, and that's what we're trying to do."

Dion Lewis reiterated the point that the focus of the team will be on football moving forward.

"Everybody has their own views on things, some guys just did what they felt was best, how they felt," he said. "But going forward, we’re just going to focus on football, focus on the Carolina Panthers . . . 

"There’s no division in this team. We’re a very close team. We put too much time and effort grinding all offseason and training camp together for there to be division. Nothing like that's going to divide the team. We’re a very close group. We’re a family."

Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

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Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

The Patriots final injury report before their showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday includes 10 players listed as questionable and defensive lineman Alan Branch ruled out.

Branch, who hurt his knee in the Monday night loss to the Dolphins, missed three days of practice this week. Among the questionable are linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive lineman Trey Flowers, who didn't play against Miami. Tom Brady (Achilles), Brandon Cooks (hand) and Malcolm Butler (ankle) have been removed from the injury report. 

Cornerback Joe Haden (fibula) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) among the Steelers listed as questionable. The full injury report:

Gronkowski quickly puts suspension behind him

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Gronkowski quickly puts suspension behind him

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski was not focused on the past or a lengthy press conference Friday. 

Speaking with the media for the first time since being handed a one-game suspension for his hit on Tre’Davious White two weeks ago, Gronkowski spoke for less than 2 1/2 minutes before declaring, “I’m out” and leaving the podium. 

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“I definitely learned about it, but I’m not really here right now [to talk about that],” Gronkowski said. “With the game Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’m just putting my focus on them right now. Definitely learned from the mistake that I made, for sure a couple weeks ago, the last game I played in, but we’ve got a huge game this Sunday. We’ve got a huge game as a team this Sunday, so I’m just putting all my focus into the Steelers this week.” 

The veteran tight end said that he was glad to be back practicing and playing, but tried to shift the conversation back to the Steelers when asked about the suspension. He declined to share whether he reached out to White after the late hit. 

Gronkowski’s return will be a welcomed sight for a Patriots offense that struggled last week without him. Tom Brady played his worst game of the season, completing 24 of 43 passes for 233 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in New England’s loss to the Dolphins.