Bill Belichick wasn't itching to get into the status of tight end Rob Gronkowski's chest injury during a conference call on Tuesday.
"I don’t have anything to add," he said. "The players aren’t in today so we’ll put a report out Wednesday after we practice and see what happens on Wednesday."
It was reported by NFL Media on Monday night that Gronkowski had what was believed to be a punctured lung. ESPN later issued a report of its own, saying that Gronkowski's chest injury was not a punctured lung, adding it was "not overly serious."
Gronkowski had to be removed briefly from his team's loss to the Seahawks after taking a hard hit from Seattle safety Earl Thomas. The Patriots tight end finished the game with three catches for 56 yards.
Almost as soon as he left the game, fellow tight end Martellus Bennett became more involved in the passing game. He ended up with seven grabs for 102 yards.
"He’s done a good job for us all year," Belichick said of Bennett. "He’s a big target, smart, very experienced in the passing game. I know we have a lot of confidence in him."
Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.
The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.
A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.
So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.
According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.
That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay.
“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”
The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.