It's a new year for the Patriots . . . in more ways than one.
And Tom E. Curran, in a SportsNet Central appearance with Carolyn Manno, thinks the changed atmosphere in the locker room speaks well to the team's 2011 mindset.
"You've seen that in previous years, Patriots players sometimes would go and hide," Curran told Manno. "They'd turn themselves into phantoms, they'd go into the trainer's room, they'd go play dominoes someplace else, anything to stay out of the firing line of the media.
"But on Friday you saw basically every player at his locker. Tom Brady, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman were all in a row, playing their tunes. Rob Gronkowski behind them. There was a lot of levity going back and forth between those players. And I thought it was interesting because . . . you don't always see that atmosphere in that Patriots locker room.
"It's apparent to me that they're feeling good about things right now."
NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.
Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.
The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.
NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:
"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."
Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.
Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.
The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.
Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.
Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.
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: