Brady's teammates say his fire in practice is contagious


Brady's teammates say his fire in practice is contagious

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady played in Friday's scrimmage with a maniacal sort of enthusiasm that his teammates have come to expect from him. 

When he was screaming on the sidelines before he had even taken a snap, that was just Tom being Tom. When he raced down the field with his index finger in the air to celebrate a long touchdown pass to Matthew Slater, that was only their quarterback doing his thing. And when he argued to coach Bill Belichick that one completion should have been scored a touchdown and not blown dead, other Patriots probably simply shrugged their shoulders. 

Nothing to see here. Brady is always looking to win something. It may be the "bucket drill" against Jimmy Garoppolo after practice, which the pair of taken part in at the end of each of the last two days of on-the-field work. It could be warm-up sprints during the season, when he'll race his pal Julian Edelman for no good reason. It might be ping-pong in the locker room against Danny Amendola. 

Friday's unique practice setup was just another way to get Brady's constantly-simmering competitive juices to boil over. 

"It's a lot of fun," said Rob Gronkowski, who played against Brady as a member of Team Garoppolo and had to hear Brady boast after practice. "It's every day. He comes out and competes every single day, but everyone's just chirping at each other. It makes the game fun . . . Going at it, everyone making plays. It's really cool."

Even players who are still relatively new to the Patriots have already been indoctinated to the Ways of Brady. Seeing him wild-eyed on the practice fields is the norm, not the other way around. 

"I don't care if it was a race tying your shoe," said receiver Nate Washington. "I think Tom would compete with you. He's a competitive guy. He's passionate about what he does." 

"I played against the guy. I was on the opposite sideline for four years, and I know how intense he can be," said receiver Chris Hogan. "But it's cool just to see a guy like him, who's been around -- I don't know how many training camps this is for him, but for him to be this excited . . . it's contagious. And it kind of got everyone else ready to go. It was fun out here today."

"Being a part of the blue team today and competing, it's fun," said rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell. "It's contagious to see him do that . . . If he smiles, you smile."

After going 25-for-25 with three touchdowns en route to beating Team Garoppolo, 23-9, Brady smiled his fair share Friday.

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

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.


Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

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.