Patriots

Chung focused on team in contract year

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Chung focused on team in contract year

FOXBORO -- Patrick Chung enters 2012 on the last year of his rookie contract.

Asked Thursday if he's happy to have another season, Chung missed the point.

"Who's not excited for that?" he laughed. "I love playing football. It's always exciting."

The moment provides an interesting glimpse as to his state of mind. It seems Chung is happily absorbed in OTAs, in the immediacy of New England's present moment.

You cant think about that stuff now, he said, once directed to contract talk. Thats when you make mistakes. Youve got to go into every season like everything is the same and nothing has changed.

Every year is the same. Youve got to ball out, regardless if its year one to year four. Youve got to play hard. Im not really worried about it.

So money isn't on the man's mind? Yeah, right. Any athlete would be a fool not to consider his future. It's just that Chung has plenty else to consider in the here and now.

More responsibility in a leadership role, for one thing.

"Coaches on the sideline give us information; youve got to have someone to relay it out there. I have to take charge and be mentally prepared," he said. "Everybody is physical, fast, strong, big, but the smarter guy always wins. So Im trying to be smarter than everybody."

Second round pick Tavon Wilson will need schooling at safety. Offseason acquisition Steve Gregory is a seven-year veteran, but new to the Patriots system. And there are other changes -- more vets, more pups -- to the rest of what was a much-maligned secondary last season.

We all help each other. Regardless of who is safety or whos at corner. If CB Devin McCourty sees something I dont see, hell tell me. If I see something that he doesnt see, Ill tell him. Its kind of like a brotherhood, youre going to tell your brothers what your going to tell them, whether its bad or its good."

There was too much of the bad, too much inconsistency overall last year. Beyond the group's struggles, Chung's personal development was derailed by a foot injury that forced him to miss half the regular season.

He said he's put it all -- Super Bowl disappointment included -- behind him.

The offseason is the offseason. You get out of it, but youre ready to get back into it. Im glad to be back with my boys. Its time to play some ball.

This is an important year for the Patriots safety. In more ways than one.

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.”