Patriots

Harmon, Andrews named first-time captains for Patriots

Harmon, Andrews named first-time captains for Patriots

FOXBORO -- When the Patriots announced their captains for 2017 this week there were plenty of familair names: Tom Brady, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Rob Gronkowski, Dont'a Hightower. 

The team had a couple more named on Tuesday, though: safety Duron Harmon and center David Andrews.

The Patriots use a democratic system to vote in their captains, so that Harmon and Andrews got the nod from their teammates is a sign of the respect they've earned as two of the youngest leaders in the locker room.

Harmon arrived to the Patriots in 2013 draft as a third-round pick out of Rutgers and has turned himself into a valuable member of the New England secondary as its oft-used third safety. In a defensive scheme that frequently deploys three-safety packages, Harmon has played a shade over 50 percent of his team's snaps (including playoffs) in each of the last two seasons, per Pro Football Focus. One indication of his importance to the Patriots on and off the field? He signed a four-year deal with a maximum value of $20 million to remain with the team in the offseason. 

Andrews also signed a new deal with the Patriots before this season, getting a three-year extension from the club with a maximum value of $11 million. The team's starting center arrived to New England as an undrafted rookie out of Georgia in 2015 and earned his first 11 NFL starts in his first season while incumbent starting center Bryan Stork dealt with injury. Andrews won the starting job outright last season and was as durable as any lineman, playing 99.7 percent of the snaps en route to a Super Bowl title. 

Brady is a 16-time captain, while McCourty and Slater will be captains for the seventh consecutive season. Gronkowski and Hightower will serve as captains for the second time.

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's never suffered a break like the one Gordon Hayward did on Tuesday night, but he has been through enough to know what lies ahead as the Celtics forward stares at a lengthy recovery period.

"I saw it. I mean, I wish him nothing but wellness," Gronkowski said on Wednesday. "Hopefully he heals ASAP. You never want to see that with a player in any sport. When my friend showed me that last night, you get that feeling in your body, like, your heart drops. I wish him well.

"I can't wait to see him back. I know he's going to bounce back. Being here in Boston, he's going to be a hard worker it feels like. I can't wait to see him back."

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Multiple back surgeries, a plate in his arm, a surgically-repaired ACL . . . Gronkowski has put in his share of rehabilitation work. Asked if he'd give Hayward any advice as he embarks on his road back to normalcy, Gronkowski's message was simple.

"Just go into rehab just like you go into anything else. Dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you're 100 percent . . . He wouldn't be where he is now if he wasn't a hard worker. I don't know the guy. Never met him. But it's not something you want to see as an athlete happen to anyone else."

Gronkowski acknowledged that in his experience, one of the biggest hurdles following an injury like that is the mental one. You quickly go from being a powerful athlete to a patient in need of help with even the smallest of tasks. 

"There is a big mental challenge, definitely, with that," Gronkowski explained. "It's not just not being able to be with your teammates and all that. It's outside of football, too. Because it takes away your whole life, going out like that . . . You can't do anything. You can't walk. You gotta have people do [things for you]. You get really frustrated. You just want the people around you to help you out and keep you in the best mindset throughout the whole process."

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Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added

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Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added

FOXBORO -- Chris Hogan only had one catch for 19 yards against the Jets. He very nearly had a second grab in the second quarter, but Tom Brady's throw was off the mark, and Hogan's ribs were exposed for rookie safety Marcus Maye to hammer. The pass fell incomplete and Hogan crumpled to the turf. 

He didn't leave the game, but Hogan did end up on Wednesday's injury report as a limited participant in practice due to a ribs injury. He was one of three players added to this week's injury report. Linebacker Elandon Roberts has an ankle injury and did not participate in Wednesday's workout. Guard Shaq Mason has a shoulder issue and was limited. 

Eric Rowe and Stephon Gilmore, neither of whom were spotted at the start of the session, did not participate.

Here's Wednesday's full practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Falcons game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion/ankle)
LB Harvey Langi (back)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
WR Chris Hogan (ribs)
G Shaq Mason (shoulder)

ATLANTA FALCONS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
K Matt Bryant (back)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
OLB Vic Beasley Jr. (hamstring)
LB Jermaine Grace (hamstring)
LB Deion Jones (quadricep)
DE Takk McKinley (shoulder)
LB Duke Riley (knee)
WR Mohamed Sanu (hamstring)
DL Courtney Upshaw (ankle/knee)