Patriots

Bennett: 'I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city'

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Bennett: 'I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city'

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett met with reporters on Thursday while wearing a "Football Marty" hooded sweatshirt and a hat with a cartoon image of his face emblazoned on the front. 

Ever the business man, Bennett is trying to sell, sell, sell.

"It's called micro-branding," he said. "You focus on the area that you're in and then eventually people tell other people about it, then you branch out and do a little bit more so I started a little thing called Football Marty."

He's sold some gear, he explained, but it sounds like the stuff hasn't exactly been flying off the shelves. 

"I'm moving some. Not as much as I would like to," he said. "It's hard being a one-year guy in the market. A lot of people don't know if they want to invest in you because they don't know if you're going to be here next year or not. But I like the coolest stuff. So if you want to invest in cool, you want to invest in me."

Will the Patriots be looking to invest in Bennett? With the playoffs approaching, and with Bennett appearing to round into form physically after dealing with an ankle injury for most of the season, that's one question that faces the team as it looks at its long-term roster configuration. 

Bennett is in the last year of his contract and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free-agency in March. He'll turn 30 this offseason, and could command a deal that looks something like the one tight end Greg Olsen got from the Panthers headed into his 30-year-old campaign.

Asked if he could see himself in New England for the 2017 season and beyond, Bennett made it clear just how much he's enjoyed playing with the Patriots.

"I love it here," he said. "We’ll figure it out when it’s time to figure it out, but my family loves it here, I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city. When it comes around, it comes around. I ain't really tripping, like I said. I save my money pretty good. I’ve got a good, diverse portfolio, so I’m not really tripping right now."

The Patriots, of course, have provided Bennett an opportunity to do something he hasn't done since when he was with the Cowboys in 2009: Make the postseason. While he's used colorful means to describe all the winning he's done with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick this season, he's taking a more subdued approach to playoff football this week.

"I'm not very excited," he said. "It’s the bye week right now so I’m just chilling. I just save my energy, build up as it goes on. There’s no reason to have a lot of highs and lows this week, so I’m just trying to have good focus in practice and get better this week, take some time off and see what I can do to contribute and make the team better for the next game. We don’t know who we’re playing, so it’s hard to get excited about ghosts. But for overall, I’m just chilling.”

Patriots-Falcons injury report: Gilmore, Rowe out

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Patriots-Falcons injury report: Gilmore, Rowe out

As expected, after not practicing all week, Patriots cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin) have been ruled out for Sunday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

The full Patriots and Falcons injury report:

Tom Brady: Injuries like his, Gordon Hayward's 'big reality check for all of us'

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Tom Brady: Injuries like his, Gordon Hayward's 'big reality check for all of us'

FOXBORO — You’d have to go back to 2008 to find the last “you’ve got to be kidding me” injury to open a Boston season before Gordon Hayward. 

That injury, of course, was the torn ACL suffered by Brady on a hit to the left leg from Bernard Pollard with 7:27 left in the first quarter of Week 1. Brady missed the rest of the season and the Pats went on to miss the playoffs despite going 11-5 under Matt Cassel. 

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Brady, who reached out to Aaron Rodgers last Sunday after the Packers quarterback was lost for the season, said he felt for Hayward after the Celtics’ key free agent acquisition suffered a fracture-dislocation of his left ankle 5:15 into the season opener against the Cavaliers Tuesday.

“It’s just a big reality check for all of us because we all think we’re invincible to some degree, and then you go and you have this really tough injury that just happens,” Brady said. “It is tough and everyone probably goes through something a little different or it hits them at different times, and I feel bad for [Hayward and Rodgers], but I’m sure they’ll both come back stronger and better than ever. 

“That’s what you have to do as an athlete. You’re always faced with adversities and you’ve got to overcome them. Mental toughness is a big part of that. I know both those players have a lot of that.”